Multiple sclerosis (MS) is a highly prevalent cause of neurological disability and has different clinical subtypes with potentially different underlying pathologies. Differentiation of primary progressive multiple sclerosis (PPMS) from relapsing remitting multiple sclerosis (RRMS) could be difficult especially in its early phases.
We compared brain metabolite concentrations and ratios in patients with PPMS and RRMS by magnetic resonance spectroscopic imaging (MRSI).
Patients and Methods
Thirty patients with definite MS (15 with RRMS and 15 with PPMS) underwent MRSI and their non-enhancing lesion metabolites were measured. N-acetyl aspartate (NAA), Creatine (Cr), Choline (Cho), NAA/Cr and NAA/Cho were measured and compared between the two MS subtypes.
When the two MS groups were compared together, we found that Cr was significantly increased (P value=0.008) and NAA/Cr was significantly decreased (P value=0.03) in non-enhancing lesions in PPMS compared with RRMS. There was no significant difference in NAA, Cho or NAA/Cho between the two MS subtypes.
MRS is a potential way to differentiate PPMS and RRMS.
Multiple Sclerosis, Chronic Progressive; Multiple Sclerosis, Relapsing-Remitting; Magnetic Resonance Spectroscopy
Multiple sclerosis (MS) is an inflammatory demyelinating disease of the central nervous system (CNS). Because of limited efficacy and adverse side effects, identifying novel therapeutic and protective agents is important. The aim of this study is to examine the correlations between expanded disability status scale (EDSS) and cytokines after intervention with co-supplemented hemp seed and evening primrose oils and hot-natured diet in patients with relapsing-remitting multiple sclerosis (RRMS).
We studied a group of 23 patients with clinically definite RRMS, with EDSS<6 who received co-supplemented hemp seed and evening primrose oils with advising hot-natured diet. Clinically EDSS and immunological factors (plasma cytokines of IL-4, IFN-γ and IL-17) were assessed at baseline and after 6 months.
Mean follow-up was 180±2.9 days (N=23, 7 Male and 16 Females aged 25.0±7.5 years with disease duration 6.26±3.9 years). After 6 months, significant improvements in extended disability status score were found in the patients in agreement with decrease cytokines of IFN-γ and IL-17 and increase cytokines of IL-4. Clinical and immunological parameters showed improvement in the patients after the intervention.
Our study shows that co-supplemented hemp seed and evening primrose oils with hot-natured diet can have beneficial effects in improving clinical symptoms in relapsing remitting MS patients and significant correlation was found between EDSS and immunological findings.
Multiple Sclerosis; Hot-natured Diet; Evening Primrose; Oenothera biennis L.; Hemp seed; Cannabis sativa L.; Inflammation; Therapy
Multiple sclerosis (MS) is characterized by the local production of antibodies in the CNS and the presence of oligoclonal bands in the CSF. Antigen arrays allow the study of antibody reactivity against a large number of antigens using small volumes of fluid with greater sensitivity than ELISA. We investigated whether there were unique autoantibodies in the CSF of patients with MS as measured by antigen arrays and whether these antibodies differed from those in serum.
We used antigen arrays to analyze the reactivity of antibodies in matched serum and CSF samples of 20 patients with untreated relapsing-remitting MS (RRMS), 26 methylprednisolone-treated patients with RRMS, and 20 control patients with other noninflammatory neurologic conditions (ONDs) against 334 different antigens including heat shock proteins, lipids, and myelin antigens.
We found different antibody signatures in matched CSF and serum samples The targets of these antibodies included epitopes of the myelin antigens CNP, MBP, MOBP, MOG, and PLP (59%), HSP60 and HSP70 (38%), and the 68-kD neurofilament (3%). The antibody response in patients with MS was heterogeneous; CSF antibodies in individual patients reacted with different autoantigens. These autoantibodies were locally synthesized in the CNS and were of the immunoglobulin G class. Finally, we found that treatment with steroids decreased autoantibody reactivity, epitope spreading, and intrathecal autoantibody synthesis.
These studies provide a new avenue to investigate the local antibody response in the CNS, which may serve as a biomarker to monitor both disease progression and response to therapy in MS.
Background and Purpose
The different clinical subtypes of multiple sclerosis (MS) may reflect underlying differences in affected neuroanatomic regions. Our aim was to analyze the effectiveness of jointly using the inferior subolivary medulla oblongata volume (MOV) and the cross-sectional area of the corpus callosum in distinguishing patients with relapsing-remitting multiple sclerosis (RRMS), secondary-progressive multiple sclerosis (SPMS), and primary-progressive multiple sclerosis (PPMS).
Materials and Methods
We analyzed a cross-sectional dataset of 64 patients (30 RRMS, 14 SPMS, 20 PPMS) and a separate longitudinal dataset of 25 patients (114 MR imaging examinations). Twelve patients in the longitudinal dataset had converted from RRMS to SPMS. For all images, the MOV and corpus callosum were delineated manually and the corpus callosum was parcellated into 5 segments. Patients from the cross-sectional dataset were classified as RRMS, SPMS, or PPMS by using a decision tree algorithm with the following input features: brain parenchymal fraction, age, disease duration, MOV, total corpus callosum area and areas of 5 segments of the corpus callosum. To test the robustness of the classification technique, we applied the results derived from the cross-sectional analysis to the longitudinal dataset.
MOV and central corpus callosum segment area were the 2 features retained by the decision tree. Patients with MOV >0.94 cm3 were classified as having RRMS. Patients with progressive MS were further subclassified as having SPMS if the central corpus callosum segment area was <55.12 mm2, and as having PPMS otherwise. In the cross-sectional dataset, 51/64 (80%) patients were correctly classified. For the longitudinal dataset, 88/114 (77%) patient time points were correctly classified as RRMS or SPMS.
Classification techniques revealed differences in affected neuroanatomic regions in subtypes of multiple sclerosis. The combination of central corpus callosum segment area and MOV provides good discrimination among patients with RRMS, SPMS, and PPMS.
The aim of this preliminary study was to evaluate the effect of low-dose oral vitamin D in combination with current disease-modifying therapy on the prevention of progression of relapsing-remitting multiple sclerosis (RRMS). A phase II double-blind placebo-controlled randomized clinical trial conducted between October 2007 and October 2008 included 50 patients with confirmed RRMS aged 25 to 57 years and normal serum 25-hydroxyvitamin D. They were randomly allocated to receive 12 months of treatment with either escalating calcitriol doses up to 0.5 μg/day or placebo combined with disease-modifying therapy. Response to treatment was assessed at eight-week intervals. In both groups, the mean relapse rate decreased significantly (P < 0.001). In the 25 patients treated with placebo, the mean (SD) Expanded Disability Status Scale (EDSS) increased from 1.70 (1.21) at baseline to 1.94 (1.41) at the end of study period (P < 0.01). Average EDSS and relapse rate at the end of trial did not differ between groups. Adding low-dose vitamin D to routine disease-modifying therapy had no significant effect on the EDSS score or relapse rate. A larger phase III multicenter study of vitamin D in RRMS is warranted to more assess the efficacy of this intervention.
There is growing interest for identification of new targets for biomarker development in multiple sclerosis (MS). The goal of this study was to compare the concentration and the methylation patterns of cell-free plasma DNA (cfpDNA) in patients with relapsing-remitting multiple sclerosis (RRMS) and healthy individuals.
Three 30-patient cohorts were examined: patients with RRMS, in either remission or exacerbation, and healthy individuals as controls. Concentration of cfpDNA was determined using a standard fluorometric assay. Patterns of methylation in 56 gene promoters were determined by a microarray-based assay (MethDet-56). The data were analyzed to identify statistically relevant differences among the study groups.
The concentration of cfpDNA in patients with RRMS was four to eight-fold higher compared to healthy controls. Significant differences in cfpDNA methylation patterns were detected in all three comparisons: RRMS patients in remission versus healthy controls were recognized with 79.2% sensitivity and 92.9% specificity; RRMS patients in exacerbation versus healthy controls were recognized with 75.9% sensitivity and 91.5% specificity; and RRMS patients in exacerbation versus those in remission were recognized with 70.8% sensitivity and 71.2% specificity.
Based on our findings, we conclude that patients with RRMS display unique disease- and state-specific changes of cfpDNA. Our findings are of clinical significance as they could be used in development of potentially new biomarkers for MS. This is the first report in our knowledge describing such changes of cfpDNA in patients with MS.
multiple sclerosis; cell-free plasma DNA; DNA methylation; gene promoter; biomarker; microarray
Objective: To compare the secular trends and geographical differences in the incidence of relapsing-remitting (RRMS) and primary progressive multiple sclerosis (PPMS) in Finland, and to draw inferences about aetiological differences between the two forms of the disease.
Methods: New multiple sclerosis cases in southern Uusimaa and the western districts Vaasa and Seinäjoki of Finland in 1979–1993 were verified from hospital records and classified into RRMS and PPMS. Patients met the Poser criteria for definite multiple sclerosis or otherwise satisfied the criteria for PPMS. Disease course was categorised by the same neurologist. Crude and age adjusted incidence in 1979–1993 was estimated.
Results: During 1979–1993 the age adjusted incidence was 5.1 per 100 000 person-years in Uusimaa, 5.2 in Vaasa, and 11.6 in Seinäjoki. The rates in Uusimaa remained stable, while a decrease occurred in Vaasa and an increase in Seinäjoki. Between 1979–86 and 1987–93 the incidence of PPMS increased in Seinäjoki from 2.6 to 3.7 per 105 and decreased in Vaasa from 1.9 to 0.2 per 105; the trends were similar for RRMS.
Conclusions: There are significant differences in secular trends for multiple sclerosis incidence in Finland by geographical area, but these are similar for PPMS and RRMS. The recent changes point to locally acting environmental factors. The parallel incidence trends for RRMS and PPMS suggest similar environmental triggers for the two clinical presentations of multiple sclerosis.
Multiple sclerosis (MS) is a chronic inflammatory disease of the central nervous system in which peripheral blood monocytes play an important role. We have previously reported that patients with chronic progressive MS (CPMS) have significantly increased numbers of circulating monocytes which express the urokinase plasminogen activator receptor (uPAR). In the present study, we examined the expression of uPAR on monocytes in patients with relapsing-remitting multiple sclerosis (RRMS) not currently participating in a clinical trial and in patients with RRMS who were enrolled in a double-blind multicenter clinical trial designed to examine the effect of glatiramer acetate (copolymer 1; Copaxone) on relapsing disease. Patients with CPMS have sustained high levels of circulating uPAR-positive (uPAR+) monocytes. In comparison, patients with RRMS displayed variable levels of circulating uPAR+ monocytes. Mean values for uPAR in patients with RRMS were above those seen for controls but were not as high as those observed for patients with secondary progressive MS. Patients with RRMS in the clinical trial also had variable levels of monocyte uPAR. However, patients in the treatment group displayed lower levels following 2 years of treatment. In both placebo-treated and glatiramer acetate-treated patients, the percentage of circulating uPAR+ monocytes, as well as the density of uPAR expressed per cell (mean linear fluorescence intensity), increased just prior to the onset of a clinically documented exacerbation. Values fell dramatically with the development of clinical symptoms. uPAR levels in all groups correlated with both clinical activity and severity. Results indicate that monocyte activation is impatient in MS and that glatiramer acetate may have a significant effect on monocyte activation in patients with RRMS.
In several autoimmune diseases, including multiple sclerosis (MS), a compromised regulatory T cell (Treg) function is believed to be critically involved in the disease process. In vitro, the biologically active metabolite of vitamin D has been shown to promote Treg development. A poor vitamin D status has been linked with MS incidence and MS disease activity. In the present study, we assess a potential in vivo correlation between vitamin D status and Treg function in relapsing remitting MS (RRMS) patients.
Serum levels of 25-hydroxyvitamin D (25(OH)D) were measured in 29 RRMS patients. The number of circulating Tregs was assessed by flow-cytometry, and their functionality was tested in vitro in a CFSE-based proliferation suppression assay. Additionally, the intracellular cytokine profile of T helper cells was determined directly ex-vivo by flow-cytometry. Serum levels of 25(OH)D correlated positively with the ability of Tregs to suppress T cell proliferation (R = 0.590, P = 0.002). No correlation between 25(OH)D levels and the number of Tregs was found. The IFN-γ/IL-4 ratio (Th1/Th2-balance) was more directed towards IL-4 in patients with favourable 25(OH)D levels (R = −0.435, P = 0.023).
These results show an association of high 25(OH)D levels with an improved Treg function, and with skewing of the Th1/Th2 balance towards Th2. These findings suggest that vitamin D is an important promoter of T cell regulation in vivo in MS patients. It is tempting to speculate that our results may not only hold for MS, but also for other autoimmune diseases. Future intervention studies will show whether modulation of vitamin D status results in modulation of the T cell response and subsequent amelioration of disease activity.
Differences in cytokine/chemokine profiles among patients with neuromyelitis optica (NMO), relapsing remitting multiple sclerosis (RRMS), and primary progressive MS (PPMS), and the relationships of these profiles with clinical and neuroimaging features are unclear. A greater understanding of these profiles may help in differential diagnosis.
We measured 27 cytokines/chemokines and growth factors in CSF collected from 20 patients with NMO, 26 with RRMS, nine with PPMS, and 18 with other non-inflammatory neurological diseases (OND) by multiplexed fluorescent bead-based immunoassay. Interleukin (IL)-17A, IL-6, CXCL8 and CXCL10 levels were significantly higher in NMO patients than in OND and RRMS patients at relapse, while granulocyte-colony stimulating factor (G-CSF) and CCL4 levels were significantly higher in NMO patients than in OND patients. In NMO patients, IL-6 and CXCL8 levels were positively correlated with disability and CSF protein concentration while IL-6, CXCL8, G-CSF, granulocyte-macrophage colony-stimulating factor (GM-CSF) and IFN-γ were positively correlated with CSF neutrophil counts at the time of sample collection. In RRMS patients, IL-6 levels were significantly higher than in OND patients at the relapse phase while CSF cell counts were negatively correlated with the levels of CCL2. Correlation coefficients of cytokines/chemokines in the relapse phase were significantly different in three combinations, IL-6 and GM-CSF, G-CSF and GM-CSF, and GM-CSF and IFN-γ, between RRMS and NMO/NMOSD patients. In PPMS patients, CCL4 and CXCL10 levels were significantly higher than in OND patients.
Our findings suggest distinct cytokine/chemokine alterations in CSF exist among NMO, RRMS and PPMS. In NMO, over-expression of a cluster of Th17- and Th1-related proinflammatory cytokines/chemokines is characteristic, while in PPMS, increased CCL4 and CXCL10 levels may reflect on-going low grade T cell and macrophage/microglia inflammation in the central nervous system. In RRMS, only a mild elevation of proinflammatory cytokines/chemokines was detectable at relapse.
Assessment of subjective quality of life (QOL) of persons with multiple sclerosis (MS) could facilitate the detection of psychosocial aspects of disease that may otherwise go unrecognized. The objectives of the study were to (i) compare the QOL ratings of relapsing remitting (RRMS) and progressive (PMS) types of MS with those of a general population group and the impression of their family caregivers; and (ii) assess the association of demographic, clinical, treatment, depression, and caregiver variables with patients' QOL.
Consecutive clinic attendees at the national neurology hospital were assessed with the 26 -item WHOQOL Instrument, Beck's Depression Inventory and Expanded Disability Scale. Caregivers rated their impression of patients' QOL and attitudes to patients' illness.
The 170 patients (60 m, 109 f) consisted of 145(85.3%) with RRMS and 25 with PMS, aged 32.4(SD 8.8), age at onset 27.1(7.7), EDSS score 2.9 (1.8), and 76% were employed. The patients were predominantly dissatisfied with their life circumstances. The RRMS group had higher QOL domain scores (P < 0.001), and lower depression(P > 0.05) and disability (P < 0.0001) scores than the PMS group. Patients had significantly lower QOL scores than the control group (P < 0.001). Caregiver impression was significantly correlated with patients' ratings. Depression was the commonest significant covariate of QOL domains. When we controlled for depression and disability scores, differences between the two MS groups became significant for only one (out of 6) QOL domains. Patients who were younger, better educated, employed, felt less sick and with lesser side effects, had higher QOL. The predictors of patients' overall QOL were disability score, caregiver impression of patients' QOL, and caregiver fear of having MS.
Our data indicate that MS patients in stable condition and with social support can hope to have better QOL, if clinicians pay attention to depression, disability, the impact of side effects of treatment and family caregiver anxieties about the illness. The findings call for a regular program of psychosocial intervention in the clinical setting, to address these issues and provide caregiver education and supports, in order to enhance the quality of care.
To improve the characterization of asymptomatic subjects with brain magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) abnormalities highly suggestive of multiple sclerosis (MS), a condition named as “radiologically isolated syndrome” (RIS).
Quantitative MRI metrics such as brain volumes and magnetization transfer (MT) were assessed in 19 subjects previously classified as RIS, 20 demographically-matched relapsing-remitting MS (RRMS) patients and 20 healthy controls (HC). Specific measures were: white matter (WM) lesion volumes (LV), total and regional brain volumes, and MT ratio (MTr) in lesions, normal-appearing WM (NAWM) and cortex.
LV was similar in RIS and RRMS, without differences in distribution and frequency at lesion mapping. Brain volumes were similarly lower in RRMS and RIS than in HC (p<0.001). Lesional-MTr was lower in RRMS than in RIS (p = 0.048); NAWM-MTr and cortical-MTr were similar in RIS and HC and lower (p<0.01) in RRMS. These values were particularly lower in RRMS than in RIS in the sensorimotor and memory networks. A multivariate logistic regression analysis showed that 13/19 RIS had ≥70% probability of being classified as RRMS on the basis of their brain volume and lesional-MTr values.
Macroscopic brain damage was similar in RIS and RRMS. However, the subtle tissue damage detected by MTr was milder in RIS than in RRMS in clinically relevant brain regions, suggesting an explanation for the lack of clinical manifestations of subjects with RIS. This new approach could be useful for narrowing down the RIS individuals with a high risk of progression to MS.
There is accumulating evidence from immunological, pathological and therapeutic studies that B cells are key components in the pathophysiology of multiple sclerosis (MS).
In this prospective study we have for the first time investigated the differences in the inflammatory response between relapsing and progressive MS by comparing cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) cell profiles from patients at the onset of the disease (clinically isolated syndrome, CIS), relapsing-remitting (RR) and chronic progressive (CP) MS by flow cytometry. As controls we have used patients with other neurological diseases. We have found a statistically significant accumulation of CSF mature B cells (CD19+CD138−) and plasma blasts (CD19+CD138+) in CIS and RRMS. Both B cell populations were, however, not significantly increased in CPMS. Further, this accumulation of B cells correlated with acute brain inflammation measured by magnetic resonance imaging and with inflammatory CSF parameters such as the number of CSF leukocytes, intrathecal immunoglobulin M and G synthesis and intrathecal production of matrix metalloproteinase (MMP)-9 and the B cell chemokine CxCL-13.
Our data support an important role of CSF B cells in acute brain inflammation in CIS and RRMS.
Recent evidence suggests that B and T cell interactions may be paramount in relapsing remitting multiple sclerosis (RRMS) disease pathogenesis. We hypothesized that memory B cell pools from RRMS patients may specifically harbor a subset of potent neuro-antigen presenting cells that support neuro-antigen reactive T cell proliferation and cytokine secretion. To test this hypothesis, we compared CD80 and HLA-DR expression, IL-10 and LTα secretion, neuro-antigen binding capacity, and neuro-antigen presentation by memory B cells from RRMS patients to naïve B cells from RRMS patients and to memory and naïve B cells from healthy donors (HD). We identified memory B cells from some RRMS patients that elicited CD4+ T cell proliferation and IFN-γ secretion in response to myelin basic protein (MBP) and myelin oligodendrocyte glycoprotein (MOG). Notwithstanding the fact that the phenotypic parameters that promote efficient antigen presentation were observed to be similar between RRMS and HD memory B cells, a corresponding capability to elicit CD4+ T cell proliferation in response to MBP and MOG was not observed in HD memory B cells. Our results demonstrate for the first time that the memory B cell pool in RRMS harbors neuro-antigen specific B cells that can activate T cells.
multiple sclerosis; B cells; autoimmunity; antigen presentation
A correlation between plasma CD31+ endothelial microparticles (CD31+EMP) levels and clinical, as well as brain MRI activity, in multiple sclerosis (MS) patients has been previously reported. However, the effect(s) of treatment with interferon-β1a (IFN-β1a) on plasma levels of CD31+EMP has not been assessed. In a prospective study, we measured plasma CD31+EMP levels in 30 patients with relapsing-remitting MS.
Using flow cytometry, in a blinded study, we measured plasma CD31+EMP in 30 consecutive patients with relapsing-remitting MS (RRMS) prior to and 4, 12, 24 and 52 weeks after initiation of intramuscular therapy with interferon-β1a (IFN-β1a), 30 micrograms weekly. At each visit, clinical examination was performed and expanded disability status scale (EDSS) scores were assessed.
Plasma levels of CD31+EMP were significantly reduced from 24 through 52 weeks following initiation of treatment with IFN-β1a.
Our data suggest that serial measurement of plasma CD31+EMP levels may be used as a surrogate marker of response to therapy with INF-β1a. In addition, the decline in plasma levels of CD31+EMP further supports the concept that IFN-β1a exerts stabilizing effect on the cerebral endothelial cells in pathogenesis of MS.
Reduced N-acetyl-aspartate (NAA) levels in magnetic resonance spectroscopy (MRS) may visualize axonal damage even in the normal appearing white matter (NAWM). Demyelination and axonal degeneration are a hallmark in multiple sclerosis (MS).
To define the extent of axonal degeneration in the NAWM in the remote from focal lesions in patients with relapsing-remitting (RRMS) and secondary progressive MS (SPMS).
Material and Methods
37 patients with clinical definite MS (27 with RRMS, 10 with SPMS) and 8 controls were included. We used 2D 1H-MR-chemical shift imaging (TR = 1500ms, TE = 135ms, nominal resolution 1ccm) operating at 3Tesla to assess the metabolic pattern in the fronto–parietal NAWM. Ratios of NAA to creatine (Cr) and choline (Cho) and absolute concentrations of the metabolites in the NAWM were measured in each voxel matching exclusively white matter on the anatomical T2 weighted MR images.
No significant difference of absolute concentrations for NAA, Cr and Cho or metabolite ratios were found between RRMS and controls. In SPMS, the NAA/Cr ratio and absolute concentrations for NAA and Cr were significantly reduced compared to RRMS and to controls.
In our study SPMS patients, but not RRMS patients were characterized by low NAA levels. Reduced NAA-levels in the NAWM of patients with MS is a feature of progression.
There is debate in the literature regarding the magnitude, nature, and influence of cognitive impairment in individuals with relapsing-remitting multiple sclerosis (RRMS), Therefore, we conducted a meta-analysis that quantified the overall magnitude of cognitive impairment in individuals with RRMS and identified the domains of cognition and clinical/demographic variables that were moderators of the overall effect. We included 57 studies with 3891 participants that yielded a total of 755 effect sizes. Overall, there was a moderate decline in cognitive functioning in individuals with RRMS compared with healthy controls. Larger effects were observed in cognitive domains of motor functioning, mood status and memory and learning. Regarding demographic and clinical variables, age and gender were moderators of cognitive impairment in all cognitive domains, whereas neurological disability and disease duration primarily moderated performance on tasks assessing memory and learning.
cognition; disease subtype; meta-analysis; relapsing-remitting multiple sclerosis
The clinical diagnosis of definite multiple sclerosis is supported by abnormalities in the cerebrospinal fluid: variable mild pleocytosis and elevation of total protein, moderately elevated total IgG in most patients, and the almost invariable presence of discrete immunoglobulins after electrophoresis, the oligoclonal bands. The oligoclonal bands are non-specific, and are seen in most diseases of the nervous system, but their temporal uniformity in each patient with multiple sclerosis is characteristic. Prognostically, patients with a single episode of optic neuritis or paraesthesia who have oligoclonal bands are more likely to develop multiple sclerosis than if the spinal fluid were normal. In the Guillain-Barré syndrome, the spinal fluid total protein is transiently elevated, with no pleocytosis. Oligoclonal bands are usually found in the acute phase and only persist in those patients with chronic or relapsing polyneuropathy.
Background: Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) studies in primary progressive multiple sclerosis (PPMS) have shown a reduced frequency of enhancement with the contrast agent gadolinium-DTPA (Gd-DTPA), in comparison with relapsing-remitting multiple sclerosis (RRMS), and it has been suggested that there may be a less important role for inflammation in its pathogenesis. However, the earliest clinical stages of PPMS have not been studied and thus it has not been possible to exclude the existence of an early inflammatory phase.
Objective: To study the presence, characteristics, and implications of inflammation in early PPMS.
Methods: 45 patients with a mean disease duration of 3.3 years had triple dose Gd enhanced MRI, expanded disability status scale (EDSS), and multiple sclerosis functional composite (MSFC) assessments at baseline. Repeat MRI was done at 1 and 2 months in 24 patients, and at 6 months in 38.
Results: Enhancing brain lesions were present in 42% of patients at baseline but enhancing cord lesions were uncommon (7%); 85% of enhancing lesions enhanced for one month or less. Patients with enhancing lesions had greater disability (EDSS, p = 0.027; MSFC, p = 0.026) and more MRI abnormalities (greater T2 load, p = 0.008; greater T1 hypointensity load, p = 0.001; and reduced partial brain volume, p = 0.012) than those without enhancement. Enhancement at 6 months was seen in 32% of patients and was restricted to a subset of patients who enhanced at baseline.
Conclusions: Enhancement is present in some cases of early PPMS and is associated with greater disease impact in terms of both clinical and MRI measures.
Axonal degeneration is considered to play a major role in the development of clinical disability in multiple sclerosis (MS). N-AcetylAspartic Acid (NAA) is a neuron-specific marker constantly identified in MR-spectroscopy studies of the normal and MS brain. To our knowledge there are no studies available that evaluated NAA in cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) as a possible marker for disease severity.
To evaluate CSF concentrations of NAA in MS in relation to disease phenotype, clinical measures of disability and MRI markers of disease burden.
NAA concentrations were determined in CSF of 46 patients with MS (26 relapsing remitting (RRMS), 12 secondary progressive (SPMS) and 8 primary progressive (PPMS)). Prior to lumbar puncture, MS-patients underwent MRI and clinical examination, including the Expanded Disability Status Scale (EDSS) and the MS Functional Composite (MSFC). Additionally, CSF concentrations of NAA were determined in 12 patients with other neurological diseases (OND).
Median CSF NAA concentration was 0.74 (IQR: 0.59-.94) in RRMS , 0.54 (IQR: 0.35-.73) in SPMS and 0.83 μmol/l (IQR: 0.56-.03) in PPMS patients. SPMS patients had a significantly lower NAA concentration than RRMS patients. NAA concentrations correlated with EDSS (r = )0.37, p = 0.016), MSFC (r = 0.41, p = 0.010), normalised brain volume (r = 0.49, p = 0.001), T2 lesion load (r = )0.35, p = 0.021) and black hole lesion load (r = )0.47, p = 0.002). No differences were observed between OND (median: 0.57 IQR: 0.28-.73) and MS patients.
CSF NAA concentration in MS patients is related to clinical performance and MRI measures of disease burden and may therefore be an important neuron specific marker of disease severity and possibly progression.
N-acetylaspartic acid; cerebrospinal fluid; multiple sclerosis; magnetic resonance imaging
Annualized relapse rates (ARR) in the placebo cohorts of phase-3 randomized controlled trials (RCT) of new treatments for relapsing remitting multiple sclerosis (RRMS) have decreased substantially during the last two decades. The causes of these changes are not clear. We consider a better understanding of this phenomenon essential for valuing the effects of new drugs and by designing new trials.
To identify predictive factors of on-study ARR in early and recent MS trials.
ARR, rate of relapse-free patients, trial start dates, baseline demographics, relapse definitions and the use of McDonald criteria were retrieved by literature research of the placebo cohorts from RRMS phase-3 trials. Predictors were estimated by univariate and multivariate regression analyses and random-effects meta-regression. In addition, regression models were calculated by the Sylvia Lawry Centre's (SLC), including individual case data from clinical trials performed until 2000. The most reliable meta-analytic results can be gained from pooled individual case data. In lack of this, random-effects meta-analyses are recommended.
Data from 12 published and one unpublished trial show a decrease of ARR from 1988 to 2012 (adjR2 = 0.807, p<0.0001). Regression models identified McDonald criteria followed by baseline mean age and the pre-study relapse rate as predictors of the ARR. The pooled individual case data (n = 505) confirmed a decrease of ARR over time. The pre-study relapse rate was the best predictor for on-study relapses. Lacking individual case data after implementation of the McDonald criteria excludes a direct comparison concerning McDonald criteria.
Pre-study relapse rate was the best predictor for on-study relapse rate but failed to explain the decrease of the ARR over time alone. Higher age at baseline and the implementation of McDonald criteria were associated as well with a lowered relapse rate in the random-effects meta-regression. These findings need further clarification based on individual case data.
Uncertainty exists as to whether similar or different mechanisms contribute to the pathogenesis of different subtypes of multiple sclerosis (MS). Detailed analysis of naive T cell homeostasis shows that patients with relapsing-remitting MS (RRMS) and with primary progressive MS (PPMS) have early-onset thymic involution that causes reduced thymic output. The reduced thymic output leads to secondary peripheral homeostatic alterations in naïve CD4 T-cells, which closely mimic T-cell alterations observed in an experimental animal model of diabetes mellitus. Homeostatic T-cell receptor (TCR) signalling and proliferation of naïve T cells are induced by self-peptides. Consequently, the findings of increased TCR signalling of naïve CD4 T-cells, without increased proliferation, in PPMS, and the increased homeostatic proliferation of naïve CD4 T-cells in RRMS favour the development of autoimmunity. Thus, it seems highly likely that peripheral T-cell alterations secondary to a thymic abnormality contribute to the pathogenesis of both MS subtypes.
We assess current practice patterns of US neurologists in patients with clinically isolated syndrome (CIS), relapsing-remitting multiple sclerosis (RRMS), and radiologically isolated syndrome (RIS) using case-based surveys. For CIS, 87% recommended initiation of disease-modifying therapy (DMT) with MRI brain lesions. An injectable DMT was recommended by 90%–98% for treatment-naive, mild RRMS patients. There was 97% consensus to treat highly active RRMS, but no consensus on therapy choice. With RIS, there was consensus not to initiate treatment with brain but no spinal MRI lesions. Current US treatment patterns emphasize MRI in MS diagnosis and subsequent treatment decisions, treatment of early disease, aggressive initial treatment of highly active MS, and close patient monitoring.
Background and objective
The onset of multiple sclerosis is relapsing remitting or primary progressive. An improved understanding of the causes of early progressive disability in primary progressive multiple sclerosis (PPMS) could provide mechanistic targets for therapeutic intervention.
Five magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) parameters that could potentially cause progressive disability were investigated in 43 patients with early PPMS and in 37 patients with early relapsing remitting multiple sclerosis (RRMS): atrophy in brain, both grey matter and white matter; intrinsic abnormality in brain, both grey matter and white matter (measured by the magnetisation transfer ratio (MTR)); and atrophy of the upper cervical spinal cord. Both groups were also compared with controls.
Patients with PPMS were older and more likely to be men. Both patient groups had atrophy of brain grey matter and white matter, and intrinsic abnormality in MTR of normal‐appearing grey matter and white matter. Cord atrophy was present only in the PPMS (mean cord area: PPMS, 67.8 mm2; RRMS, 72.7 mm2; controls, 73.4 mm2; p = 0.007). This was confirmed by multivariate analysis of all five MRI parameters, age and sex.
Grey matter and white matter of the brain are abnormal in both early RRMS and PPMS, but cord atrophy is present only in PPMS. This is concordant with myelopathy being the usual clinical presentation of PPMS. Measurement of cord atrophy seems to be clinically relevant in PPMS treatment trials.
Numerous cytokines are implicated in the immunopathogenesis of multiple sclerosis (MS), but studies are often limited to whole blood (WB) or peripheral blood mononuclear cells (PBMCs), thereby omitting important information about the cellular origin of the cytokines. Knowledge about the relation between blood and cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) cell expression of cytokines and the cellular source of CSF cytokines is even more scarce.
We studied gene expression of a broad panel of cytokines in WB from relapsing-remitting multiple sclerosis (RRMS) patients in remission and healthy controls (HCs). Subsequently we determined the gene expression of the dysregulated cytokines in isolated PBMC subsets (CD4+, CD8+T-cells, NK-cells, B-cells, monocytes and dendritic cells) from RRMS patients and HCs and in CSF-cells from RRMS patients in clinical relapse and non-inflammatory neurological controls (NIND).
RRMS patients had increased expression of IFN-gamma (IFNG), interleukin (IL) 1-beta (IL1B), IL7, IL10, IL12A, IL15, IL23, IL27, lymphotoxin-alpha (LTA) and lymphotoxin-beta (LTB) in WB. In PBMC subsets the main sources of pro-inflammatory cytokines were T- and B-cells, whereas monocytes were the most prominent source of immunoregulatory cytokines. In CSF-cells, RRMS patients had increased expression of IFNG and CD19 and decreased expression of IL10 and CD14 compared to NINDs. CD19 expression correlated with expression of IFNG, IL7, IL12A, IL15 and LTA whereas CD14 expression correlated with IL10 expression.
Using a systematic approach, we show that expression of pro-inflammatory cytokines in peripheral blood primarily originates from T- and B-cells, with an important exception of IFNG which is most strongly expressed by NK-cells. In CSF-cell studies, B-cells appear to be enriched in RRMS and associated with expression of pro-inflammatory cytokines; contrarily, monocytes are relatively scarce in CSF from RRMS patients and are associated with IL10 expression. Thus, our findings suggest a pathogenetic role of B-cells and an immunoregulatory role of monocytes in RRMS.
Relapsing-remitting multiple sclerosis; Immunology; Cytokines; Blood; Cerebrospinal fluid cells; Real-time PCR