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A study protocol for evaluating the efficacy and safety of skin electrical stimulation for Leber hereditary optic neuropathy: a single-arm, open-label, non-randomized prospective exploratory study

Authors Kurimoto T, Ueda K, Mori S, Sakamoto M, Yamada-Nakanishi Y, Matsumiya W, Nakamura M

Received 9 February 2019

Accepted for publication 12 April 2019

Published 28 May 2019 Volume 2019:13 Pages 897—904

DOI https://doi.org/10.2147/OPTH.S204669

Checked for plagiarism Yes

Review by Single-blind

Peer reviewers approved by Dr Amy Norman

Peer reviewer comments 2

Editor who approved publication: Dr Scott Fraser


Takuji Kurimoto, Kaori Ueda, Sotaro Mori, Mari Sakamoto, Yuko Yamada-Nakanishi, Wataru Matsumiya, Makoto Nakamura

Division of Ophthalmology, Department of Surgery, Kobe University Graduate School of Medicine, Kobe, Japan

Background: Leber hereditary optic neuropathy (LHON) is a maternally inherited disease caused by three missense mutations of mitochondrial (mt) DNA, ie, m 3460 G>A, m 11778 G>A, or m 14484 T>C in the greater portion of LHON. m 11778 G>A mutation is especially observed in >90% of the cases in Japanese families. Although spontaneous remission of visual function infrequently occurs, effective treatment for LHON remains unestablished. Transcorneal electrical stimulation has been shown to be efficacious in individuals with optic neuropathy. However, due to potential risk of corneal damage, repeated treatments are not permissible. In this exploratory study, we will be conducting skin electrical stimulation (SES) as an intervention for patients with LHON having 11778 missense mutation and investigate effectiveness and safety of SES.
Methods: This is a single-arm, prospective, open-label exploratory trial focused on patients with LHON having 11778 missense mutation. Eleven patients will be enrolled and receive six consecutive SES once every 2 weeks up to 10 weeks. The safety of the SES will be monitored with specular microscopy, slit-lamp biomicroscopy, fundus examinations, and the observation of facial skin. The primary outcome measure will be the averaged l ogarithm of minimum angle resolution (logMAR) converted visual acuity 1 week after the last SES. Secondary outcome measures include changes, in logMAR at 4 and 8 weeks after the last SES, such as visual field indices measured using Humphrey visual field and microperimetry-3, the thickness of peripapillary retinal fiber and macular ganglion cell complex, multifocal visual evoked potentials, critical flicker frequency, and color vision.
Discussion: The results of this proposed proof-of-concept feasibility trial will help plan and execute a larger definitive trial to test SES as an effective strategy for LHON and related optic neuropathies and help establish a beneficial treatment for LHON.

Keywords: skin electrical stimulation, Leber hereditary optic neuropathy, logarithm of minimum angle resolution, single-arm study


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