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author:("said, Albert")
1.  Structural networks involved in attention and executive functions in multiple sclerosis 
NeuroImage : Clinical  2016;13:288-296.
Attention and executive deficits are disabling symptoms in multiple sclerosis (MS) that have been related to disconnection mechanisms. We aimed to investigate changes in structural connectivity in MS and their association with attention and executive performance applying an improved framework that combines high order probabilistic tractography and anatomical exclusion criteria postprocessing. We compared graph theory metrics of structural networks and fractional anisotropy (FA) of white matter (WM) connections or edges between 72 MS subjects and 38 healthy volunteers (HV) and assessed their correlation with cognition. Patients displayed decreased network transitivity, global efficiency and increased path length compared with HV (p < 0.05, corrected). Also, nodal strength was decreased in 26 of 84 gray matter regions. The distribution of nodes with stronger connections or hubs of the network was similar among groups except for the right pallidum and left insula, which became hubs in patients. MS subjects presented reduced edge FA widespread in the network, while FA was increased in 24 connections (p < 0.05, corrected). Decreased integrity of frontoparietal networks, deep gray nuclei and insula correlated with worse attention and executive performance (r between 0.38 and 0.55, p < 0.05, corrected). Contrarily, higher strength in the right transverse temporal cortex and increased FA of several connections (mainly from cingulate, frontal and occipital cortices) were associated with worse functioning (r between − 0.40 and − 0.47, p < 0.05 corrected). In conclusion, structural brain connectivity is disturbed in MS due to widespread impairment of WM connections and gray matter structures. The increased edge connectivity suggests the presence of reorganization mechanisms at the structural level. Importantly, attention and executive performance relates to frontoparietal networks, deep gray nuclei and insula. These results support the relevance of network integrity to maintain optimal cognitive skills.
Highlights
•High order tractography and anatomical exclusion criteria improve connectivity analyses.•Structural connectivity is less efficient in multiple sclerosis.•Attentional and executive functions relate to integrity of strategic networks.•Increased connectivity suggests structural reorganization mechanisms.
doi:10.1016/j.nicl.2016.11.026
PMCID: PMC5192049  PMID: 28050344
MRI; Connectivity; Tractography; Graph analysis; Multiple sclerosis; Cognition
2.  Multicentre comparison of a diagnostic assay: aquaporin-4 antibodies in neuromyelitis optica 
Objective
Antibodies to cell surface central nervous system proteins help to diagnose conditions which often respond to immunotherapies. The assessment of antibody assays needs to reflect their clinical utility. We report the results of a multicentre study of aquaporin (AQP) 4 antibody (AQP4-Ab) assays in neuromyelitis optica spectrum disorders (NMOSD).
Methods
Coded samples from patients with neuromyelitis optica (NMO) or NMOSD (101) and controls (92) were tested at 15 European diagnostic centres using 21 assays including live (n=3) or fixed cell-based assays (n=10), flow cytometry (n=4), immunohistochemistry (n=3) and ELISA (n=1).
Results
Results of tests on 92 controls identified 12assays as highly specific (0–1 false-positive results). 32 samples from 50 (64%) NMO sera and 34 from 51 (67%) NMOSD sera were positive on at least two of the 12 highly specific assays, leaving 35 patients with seronegative NMO/spectrum disorder (SD). On the basis of a combination of clinical phenotype and the highly specific assays, 66 AQP4-Ab seropositive samples were used to establish the sensitivities (51.5–100%) of all 21 assays. The specificities (85.8–100%) were based on 92 control samples and 35 seronegative NMO/SD patient samples.
Conclusions
The cell-based assays were most sensitive and specific overall, but immunohistochemistry or flow cytometry could be equally accurate in specialist centres. Since patients with AQP4-Ab negative NMO/SD require different management, the use of both appropriate control samples and defined seronegative NMOSD samples is essential to evaluate these assays in a clinically meaningful way. The process described here can be applied to the evaluation of other antibody assays in the newly evolving field of autoimmune neurology.
doi:10.1136/jnnp-2015-312601
PMCID: PMC5013123  PMID: 27113605
4.  Encephalitis and AMPA receptor antibodies 
Neurology  2015;84(24):2403-2412.
Objective:
We report the clinical features, comorbidities, and outcome of 22 newly identified patients with antibodies to the α-amino-3-hydroxy-5-methyl-4-isoxazolepropionic acid receptor (AMPAR).
Methods:
This was a retrospective review of patients diagnosed between May 2009 and March 2014. Immunologic techniques have been reported previously.
Results:
Patients' median age was 62 years (range 23–81; 14 female). Four syndromes were identified: 12 (55%) patients presented with distinctive limbic encephalitis (LE), 8 (36%) with limbic dysfunction along with multifocal/diffuse encephalopathy, one with LE preceded by motor deficits, and one with psychosis with bipolar features. Fourteen patients (64%) had a tumor demonstrated pathologically (5 lung, 4 thymoma, 2 breast, 2 ovarian teratoma) or radiologically (1 lung). Additional antibodies occurred in 7 patients (3 onconeuronal, 1 tumor-related, 2 cell surface, and 1 tumor-related and cell surface), all with neurologic symptoms or tumor reflecting the concurrent autoimmunity. Treatment and outcome were available from 21 patients (median follow-up 72 weeks, range 5–266): 5 had good response to immunotherapy and tumor therapy, 10 partial response, and 6 did not improve. Eventually 5 patients died; all had a tumor or additional paraneoplastic symptoms related to onconeuronal antibodies. Coexistence of onconeuronal antibodies predicted a poor outcome (p = 0.009).
Conclusion:
Anti-AMPAR encephalitis usually manifests as LE, can present with other symptoms or psychosis, and is paraneoplastic in 64% of cases. Complete and impressive neurologic improvement can occur, but most patients have partial recovery. Screening for a tumor and onconeuronal antibodies is important because their detection influences outcome.
doi:10.1212/WNL.0000000000001682
PMCID: PMC4478035  PMID: 25979696
5.  Cerebellar Ataxia and Glutamic Acid Decarboxylase Antibodies 
JAMA neurology  2014;71(8):1009-1016.
IMPORTANCE
Current clinical and immunologic knowledge on cerebellar ataxia (CA) with glutamic acid decarboxylase 65 antibodies (GAD65-Abs) is based on case reports and small series with short-term follow-up data.
OBJECTIVE
To report the symptoms, additional antibodies, prognostic factors, and long-term outcomes in a cohort of patients with CA and GAD65-Abs.
DESIGN, SETTING, AND PARTICIPANTS
Retrospective cohort study and laboratory investigations at a center for autoimmune neurologic disorders among 34 patients with CA and GAD65-Abs, including 25 with long-term follow-up data (median, 5.4 years; interquartile range, 3.1-10.3 years).
MAIN OUTCOMES AND MEASURES
Analysis of clinicoimmunologic features and predictors of response to immunotherapy. Immunochemistry on rat brain, cultured neurons, and human embryonic kidney cells expressing GAD65, GAD67, α1-subunit of the glycine receptor, and a repertoire of known cell surface autoantigens were used to identify additional antibodies. Twenty-eight patients with stiff person syndrome and GAD65-Abs served as controls.
RESULTS
The median age of patients was 58 years (range, 33-80 years); 28 of 34 patients (82%) were women. Nine patients (26%) reported episodes of brainstem and cerebellar dysfunction or persistent vertigo several months before developing CA. The clinical presentation was subacute during a period of weeks in 13 patients (38%). Nine patients (26%) had coexisting stiff person syndrome symptoms. Systemic organ-specific autoimmunities (type 1 diabetes mellitus and others) were present in 29 patients (85%). Twenty of 25 patients with long-term follow-up data received immunotherapy (intravenous immunoglobulin in 10 and corticosteroids and intravenous immunoglobulin or other immunosuppressors in 10), and 7 of them (35%) improved. Predictors of clinical response included subacute onset of CA (odds ratio [OR], 0.50; 95% CI, 0.25-0.99; P = .047) and prompt immunotherapy (OR, 0.98; 95% CI, 0.96-0.99; P = .01). Similar frequencies of serum GAD67-Abs were found in patients with CA (24 of 34 patients [71%]) and in patients with stiff person syndrome (20 of 28 patients [71%]). However, GAD67-Abs were found in all of the cerebrospinal fluid samples examined (22 samples from patients with CA and 17 samples from patients with stiff person syndrome). Glycine receptor antibodies but not other cell surface antibodies were identified in 4 patients with CA. The presence of glycine receptor antibodies did not correlate with any specific clinical feature.
CONCLUSIONS AND RELEVANCE
In patients with CA and GAD65-Abs, subacute onset of symptoms and prompt immunotherapy are associated with good outcome. Persistent vertigo or brainstem and cerebellar episodes can herald CA and should lead to GAD65-Ab testing, particularly in patients with systemic organ-specific autoimmunities.
doi:10.1001/jamaneurol.2014.1011
PMCID: PMC4841264  PMID: 24934144
6.  Paraneoplastic Neurological Syndromes and Glutamic Acid Decarboxylase Antibodies 
JAMA neurology  2015;72(8):874-881.
IMPORTANCE
Little is known of glutamic acid decarboxylase antibodies (GAD-abs) in the paraneoplastic context. Clinical recognition of such cases will lead to prompt tumor diagnosis and appropriate treatment.
OBJECTIVE
To report the clinical and immunological features of patients with paraneoplastic neurological syndromes (PNS) and GAD-abs.
DESIGN, SETTING, AND PARTICIPANTS
Retrospective case series study and immunological investigations conducted in February 2014 in a center for autoimmune neurological disorders. Fifteen cases with GAD65-abs evaluated between 1995 and 2013 who fulfilled criteria of definite or possible PNS without concomitant onconeural antibodies were included in this study.
MAIN OUTCOMES AND MEASURES
Analysis of the clinical records of 15 patients and review of 19 previously reported cases. Indirect immunofluorescence with rat hippocampal neuronal cultures and cell-based assays with known neuronal cell-surface antigens were used. One hundred six patients with GAD65-abs and no cancer served as control individuals.
RESULTS
Eight of the 15 patients with cancer presented as classic paraneoplastic syndromes (5 limbic encephalitis, 1 paraneoplastic encephalomyelitis, 1 paraneoplastic cerebellar degeneration, and 1 opsoclonus-myoclonus syndrome). When compared with the 106 non-PNS cases, those with PNS were older (median age, 60 years vs 48 years; P = .03), more frequently male (60% vs 13%; P < .001), and had more often coexisting neuronal cell-surface antibodies, mainly against γ-aminobutyric acid receptors (53%vs 11%; P < .001). The tumors more frequently involved were lung (n = 6) and thymic neoplasms (n = 4). The risk for an underlying tumor was higher if the presentation was a classic PNS, if it was different from stiff-person syndrome or cerebellar ataxia (odds ratio, 10.5; 95%CI, 3.2–34.5), or if the patient had coexisting neuronal cell-surface antibodies (odds ratio, 6.8; 95%CI, 1.1–40.5). Compared with the current series, the 19 previously reported cases had more frequent stiff-person syndrome (74%vs 13%; P = .001) and better responses to treatment (79% vs 27%; P = .005). Predictors of improvement in the 34 patients (current and previously reported) included presentation with stiff-person syndrome and the presence of a thymic tumor.
CONCLUSIONS AND RELEVANCE
Patients with GAD-abs must be screened for an underlying cancer if they have clinical presentations different from those typically associated with this autoimmunity or develop classic PNS. The risk for cancer increases with age, male sex, and the presence of coexisting neuronal cell-surface antibodies.
doi:10.1001/jamaneurol.2015.0749
PMCID: PMC4838033  PMID: 26099072
7.  Antibodies to Aquaporin 4, Myelin-Oligodendrocyte Glycoprotein, and the Glycine Receptor α1 Subunit in Patients With Isolated Optic Neuritis 
JAMA neurology  2015;72(2):187-193.
IMPORTANCE
In patients with isolated optic neuritis (ON), the presence of antibodies to aquaporin 4 (AQP4) has diagnostic and prognostic value. In the same clinical setting, the significance of antibodies to myelin-oligodendrocyte glycoprotein (MOG) or the glycine receptor α1 subunit (GlyR) is unclear.
OBJECTIVES
To investigate the frequency of antibodies to AQP4, MOG, and GlyR in patients with unilateral or bilateral, severe, or recurrent isolated ON and to determine their clinical and prognostic correlates.
DESIGN, SETTING, AND PARTICIPANTS
Retrospective case-control study from November 1, 2005, through May 30, 2014 with the detection of autoantibodies in a neuroimmunology referral center. We included 51 patients with ON but without clinical and magnetic resonance imaging findings outside the optic nerves and 142 controls (30 healthy individuals, 48 patients with neuromyelitis optica, and 64 patients with multiple sclerosis).
MAIN OUTCOMES AND MEASURES
Clinicoimmunologic analysis. We determined the presence of antibodies to AQP4, MOG, and GlyR using cell-based assays.
RESULTS
The median age of the patients at the onset of ON symptoms was 28 (range, 5–65) years; 36 patients (71%) were female. Antibodies were identified in 23 patients (45%), including MOG in 10 patients, AQP4 in 6 patients, and GlyR in 7 patients (concurrent with MOG in 3 and concurrent with AQP4 in 1). Patients with AQP4 antibodies (median visual score, 3.5 [range, 1–9]) had a worse visual outcome than patients with MOG antibodies alone (median visual score, 0 [range, 0–5]; P = .007), patients with seronegative findings (n = 28) (median visual score, 1.0 [range, 0–14]; P = .08), and patients with GlyR antibodies alone (n = 3) (median visual score, 0 [range, 0–2]; P = .10). The median age of the 7 patients with GlyR antibodies was 27 (range, 11–38) years; 5 (71%) of these were female. Among the 3 patients with GlyR antibodies alone, 1 patient had monophasic ON, 1 had recurrent isolated ON, and 1 had conversion to multiple sclerosis. The 3 patients with GlyR antibodies concurrent with MOG antibodies had recurrent isolated ON, and the patient with concurrent AQP4 antibodies had conversion to neuromyelitis optica. Of the 48 controls with neuromyelitis optica, 37 (77%) had AQP4 antibodies, 4 (8%) had MOG antibodies, 2 (4%) had AQP4 antibodies concurrent with MOG antibodies, and 5 (10%) were seronegative. Of the 64 controls with multiple sclerosis, 5 (8%) had GlyR antibodies.
CONCLUSIONS AND RELEVANCE
Forty-five percent of patients with unilateral or bilateral, severe, or recurrent isolated ON had antibodies to MOG, AQP4, or GlyR. Patients with AQP4 antibodies had the poorest visual outcomes, whereas patients with MOG antibodies had a better outcome that was similar to that of patients with seronegative findings. The significance of GlyR antibodies in the setting of ON is unclear and deserves further study.
doi:10.1001/jamaneurol.2014.3602
PMCID: PMC4836943  PMID: 25506781
8.  Determination of Neuronal Antibodies in Suspected and Definite Creutzfeldt-Jakob Disease 
JAMA neurology  2014;71(1):74-78.
IMPORTANCE
Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease (CJD) and autoimmune encephalitis with antibodies against neuronal surface antigens (NSA-abs) may present with similar clinical features. Establishing the correct diagnosis has practical implications in the management of care for these patients.
OBJECTIVE
To determine the frequency of NSA-abs in the cerebrospinal fluid of patients with suspected CJD and in patients with pathologically confirmed (ie, definite) CJD.
DESIGN, SETTING, AND PARTICIPANTS
A mixed prospective (suspected) and retrospective (definite) CJD cohort study was conducted in a reference center for detection of NSA-abs. The population included 346 patients with suspected CJD and 49 patients with definite CJD.
MAIN OUTCOMES AND MEASURES
Analysis of NSA-abs in cerebrospinal fluid with brain immunohistochemistry optimized for cell-surface antigens was performed. Positive cases in the suspected CJD group were further studied for antigen specificity using cell-based assays. All definite CJD cases were comprehensively tested for NSA-abs, with cell-based assays used for leucine-rich glioma-inactivated 1 (LGI1), contactin-associated protein-like 2 (CASPR2), N-methyl-d-aspartate (NMDA), and glycine (GlY) receptors.
RESULTS
Neuronal surface antigens were detected in 6 of 346 patients (1.7%) with rapid neurologic deterioration suggestive of CJD. None of these 6 patients fulfilled the diagnostic criteria for probable or possible CJD. The target antigens included CASPR2, LGI1, NMDAR, aquaporin 4, Tr (DNER [δ/notch-like epidermal growth factor–related receptor]), and an unknown protein. Four of the patients developed rapidly progressive dementia, and the other 2 patients had cerebellar ataxia or seizures that were initially considered to be myoclonus without cognitive decline. The patient with Tr-abs had a positive 14-3-3 test result. Small cell lung carcinoma was diagnosed in the patient with antibodies against an unknown antigen. All patients improved or stabilized after appropriate treatment. None of the 49 patients with definite CJD had NSA-abs.
CONCLUSIONS AND RELEVANCE
A low, but clinically relevant, number of patients with suspected CJD had potentially treatable disorders associated with NSA-abs. In contrast, none of 49 patients with definite CJD had NSA-abs, including NMDAR-abs, GlyR-abs, LGI1-abs, or CASPR2-abs. These findings suggest that cerebrospinal fluid NSA-abs analysis should be included in the diagnostic workup of patients with rapidly progressive central nervous system syndromes, particularly when they do not fulfill the diagnostic criteria of probable or possible CJD.
doi:10.1001/jamaneurol.2013.4857
PMCID: PMC4836912  PMID: 24248099
9.  Neuromyelitis optica spectrum disorders 
Objective:
To (1) determine the value of the recently proposed criteria of neuromyelitis optica (NMO) spectrum disorder (NMOSD) that unify patients with NMO and those with limited forms (NMO/LF) with aquaporin-4 immunoglobulin G (AQP4-IgG) antibodies; and (2) investigate the clinical significance of the serologic status in patients with NMO.
Methods:
This was a retrospective, multicenter study of 181 patients fulfilling the 2006 NMO criteria (n = 127) or NMO/LF criteria with AQP4-IgG (n = 54). AQP4-IgG and myelin oligodendrocyte glycoprotein immunoglobulin G (MOG-IgG) antibodies were tested using cell-based assays.
Results:
Patients were mainly white (86%) and female (ratio 6.5:1) with median age at onset 39 years (range 10–77). Compared to patients with NMO and AQP4-IgG (n = 94), those with NMO/LF presented more often with longitudinally extensive transverse myelitis (LETM) (p < 0.001), and had lower relapse rates (p = 0.015), but similar disability outcomes. Nonwhite ethnicity and optic neuritis presentation doubled the risk for developing NMO compared with white race (p = 0.008) or LETM presentation (p = 0.008). Nonwhite race (hazard ratio [HR] 4.3, 95% confidence interval [CI] 1.4–13.6) and older age at onset were associated with worse outcome (for every 10-year increase, HR 1.7, 95% CI 1.3–2.2). Patients with NMO and MOG-IgG (n = 9) had lower female:male ratio (0.8:1) and better disability outcome than AQP4-IgG-seropositive or double-seronegative patients (p < 0.001).
Conclusions:
In patients with AQP4-IgG, the similar outcomes regardless of the clinical phenotype support the unified term NMOSD; nonwhite ethnicity and older age at onset are associated with worse outcome. Double-seronegative and AQP4-IgG-seropositive NMO have a similar clinical outcome. The better prognosis of patients with MOG-IgG and NMO suggests that phenotypic and serologic classification is useful.
doi:10.1212/NXI.0000000000000225
PMCID: PMC4841645  PMID: 27144216
10.  Use of Advanced Magnetic Resonance Imaging Techniques in Neuromyelitis Optica Spectrum Disorder 
JAMA neurology  2015;72(7):815-822.
Brain parenchymal lesions are frequently observed on conventional magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) scans of patients with neuromyelitis optica (NMO) spectrum disorder, but the specific morphological and temporal patterns distinguishing them unequivocally from lesions caused by other disorders have not been identified. This literature review summarizes the literature on advanced quantitative imaging measures reported for patients with NMO spectrum disorder, including proton MR spectroscopy, diffusion tensor imaging, magnetization transfer imaging, quantitative MR volumetry, and ultrahigh-field strength MRI. It was undertaken to consider the advanced MRI techniques used for patients with NMO by different specialists in the field. Although quantitative measures such as proton MR spectroscopy or magnetization transfer imaging have not reproducibly revealed diffuse brain injury, preliminary data from diffusion-weighted imaging and brain tissue volumetry indicate greater white matter than gray matter degradation. These findings could be confirmed by ultrahigh-field MRI. The use of nonconventional MRI techniques may further our understanding of the pathogenic processes in NMO spectrum disorders and may help us identify the distinct radiographic features corresponding to specific phenotypic manifestations of this disease.
doi:10.1001/jamaneurol.2015.0248
PMCID: PMC4828237  PMID: 26010909
11.  Antibodies to MOG and AQP4 in adults with neuromyelitis optica and suspected limited forms of the disease 
Objective
We aimed to report the frequency and implications of antibodies to myelin oligodendrocyte glycoprotein (MOG-ab) in adults with demyelinating syndromes suspicious for neuromyelitis optica (NMO).
Methods
Samples from 174 patients (48 NMO, 84 longitudinally extensive myelitis (LETM), 39 optic neuritis (ON), and three acute disseminated encephalomyelitis (ADEM) who presented initially with isolated LETM) were retrospectively examined for AQP4-ab and MOG-ab using cell-based assays.
Results
MOG-ab were found in 17 (9.8%) patients, AQP4-ab in 59 (34%), and both antibodies in two (1.1%). Among the 17 patients with MOG-ab alone, seven (41%) had ON, five (29%) LETM, four (24%) NMO, and one (6%) ADEM. Compared with patients with AQP4-ab, those with MOG-ab were significantly younger (median: 27 vs. 40.5 years), without female predominance (53% vs. 90%), and the clinical course was more frequently monophasic (41% vs. 7%) with a benign outcome (median Expanded Disability Status Scale: 1.5 vs. 4.0). In eight patients with paired serum-cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) samples, five had MOG-ab in both samples and three only in serum. Antibody titres did not differ among clinical phenotypes or disease course. MOG-ab remained detectable in 12/14 patients (median follow-up: 23 months) without correlation between titres' evolution and outcome.
Conclusion
MOG-ab identify a subgroup of adult patients with NMO, LETM and ON that have better outcome than those associated with AQP4-ab. MOG-ab are more frequently detected in serum than CSF and the follow-up of titres does not correlate with outcome.
doi:10.1177/1352458514555785
PMCID: PMC4824843  PMID: 25344373
Neuromyelitis optica; longitudinally extensive myelitis; optic neuritis; aquaporin-4 antibody; antibodies to myelin oligodendrocyte glycoprotein
12.  Myelin-reactive antibodies initiate T cell-mediated CNS autoimmune disease by opsonization of endogenous antigen 
Acta Neuropathologica  2016;132:43-58.
In the pathogenesis of central nervous system (CNS) demyelinating disorders, antigen-specific B cells are implicated to act as potent antigen-presenting cells (APC), eliciting waves of inflammatory CNS infiltration. Here, we provide the first evidence that CNS-reactive antibodies (Ab) are similarly capable of initiating an encephalitogenic immune response by targeting endogenous CNS antigen to otherwise inert myeloid APC. In a transgenic mouse model, constitutive production of Ab against myelin oligodendrocyte glycoprotein (MOG) was sufficient to promote spontaneous experimental autoimmune encephalomyelitis (EAE) in the absence of B cells, when mice endogenously contained MOG-recognizing T cells. Adoptive transfer studies corroborated that anti-MOG Ab triggered activation and expansion of peripheral MOG-specific T cells in an Fc-dependent manner, subsequently causing EAE. To evaluate the underlying mechanism, anti-MOG Ab were added to a co-culture of myeloid APC and MOG-specific T cells. At otherwise undetected concentrations, anti-MOG Ab enabled Fc-mediated APC recognition of intact MOG; internalized, processed and presented MOG activated naïve T cells to differentiate in an encephalitogenic manner. In a series of translational experiments, anti-MOG Ab from two patients with an acute flare of CNS inflammation likewise facilitated detection of human MOG. Jointly, these observations highlight Ab-mediated opsonization of endogenous CNS auto-antigen as a novel disease- and/or relapse-triggering mechanism in CNS demyelinating disorders.
Electronic supplementary material
The online version of this article (doi:10.1007/s00401-016-1559-8) contains supplementary material, which is available to authorized users.
doi:10.1007/s00401-016-1559-8
PMCID: PMC4911382  PMID: 27022743
Auto-antibodies; Opsonization; Myeloid antigen-presenting cells; Fc receptor; Experimental autoimmune encephalomyelitis; Multiple sclerosis
13.  Analysis of antibodies to surface epitopes of contactin-2 in multiple sclerosis 
Journal of neuroimmunology  2012;244(1-2):103-106.
Contactin-2 was recently identified as an autoantigen targeted by T-cells and autoantibodies in multiple sclerosis (MS). Here we analyzed the frequency of antibodies to contactin-2 (contactin-2-ab) by a cell-based assay in the serum from 105 MS patients and at least 5 years of follow-up (19 clinically isolated syndromes, 51 relapsing–remitting, 20 secondary-progressive, and 15 primary-progressive). Contactin-2-ab were detected in 4 (7.8%) relapsing–remitting patients. Clinical and magnetic resonance imaging characteristics were not significantly different from the rest of relapsing–remitting patients. In conclusion, contactin-2-ab are identified in a minority of MS patients but their presence is not associated with a particular clinical-radiological profile.
doi:10.1016/j.jneuroim.2011.12.023
PMCID: PMC4800093  PMID: 22245283
Multiple sclerosis; Contactin-2; Autoantibody; Cell-based assay; Magnetic resonance imaging
14.  Long latency between GAD-antibody detection and development of limbic encephalitis – a case report 
BMC Neurology  2015;15:177.
Background
In the pathogenesis of limbic encephalitis other promoting factors besides the pure existence of autoantibodies are increasingly discussed to play a significant role. This is to our knowledge the first described patient in whom the presence of autoantibodies precedes the manifestation of limbic encephalitis for many years.
Case presentation
At the age of 38 years, in the serum of a patient with polyendocrine autoimmunity high titers of cytoplasmic islet cell antibodies and of anti-glutamate decarboxylase (GAD) 65 antibodies were observed as an incidential finding, GAD67 antibodies were negative at that time. After a latency of 18 years, she manifested with refractory temporal lobe epilepsy most likely due to autoimmune limbic encephalitis. After epilepsy onset, the patient underwent magnetic resonance imaging (MRI), electroencephalography, cerebrospinal fluid (CSF), serum and neuropsychological investigations during a follow-up period of 8 years. A pharmacoresistent epilepsy with seizure onset from the right temporal lobe and declarative memory deficits were observed affecting primarily the recall of verbal informations. MRI showed a slightly increased signal in the right amygdala without progression. GAD antibodies could be detected in serum (titre 1: 1000) and CSF (titre 1:1) by immunofluorescence. Both, GAD65 and GAD67 antibodies were observed in cell-based assays.
Conclusions
It can be assumed that in addition to a pre-existing systemic T-cell response associated with the longstanding polyendocrine autoimmunity, a delayed intrathecal autoimmunity developed leading to limbic encephalitis. This change might be reflected by the development of GAD67 antibodies in our patient. Besides the contribution of this case report to a better understandig of the pathomechanisms for the development of central nervous system (CNS) autoimmunity, it also has a clinical impact as early treatment of GAD antibody-associated CNS disorders has a better prognosis. Therefore, vigilance for symptoms indicating GAD antibody-associated CNS autoimmunity is mandatory in patients with GAD antibody-associated endocrine dysfunction.
doi:10.1186/s12883-015-0435-9
PMCID: PMC4589124  PMID: 26420440
Clinical manifestation; GAD antibodies; Limbic encephalitis; Pathogenesis
15.  Improved Framework for Tractography Reconstruction of the Optic Radiation 
PLoS ONE  2015;10(9):e0137064.
The optic radiation (OR) is one of the major components of the visual system and a key structure at risk in white matter diseases such as multiple sclerosis (MS). However, it is challenging to perform track reconstruction of the OR using diffusion MRI due to a sharp change of direction in the Meyer’s loop and the presence of kissing and crossing fibers along the pathway. As such, we aimed to provide a highly precise and reproducible framework for tracking the OR from thalamic and visual cortex masks. The framework combined the generation of probabilistic streamlines by high order fiber orientation distributions estimated with constrained spherical deconvolution and an automatic post-processing based on anatomical exclusion criteria (AEC) to compensate for the presence of anatomically implausible streamlines. Specifically, those ending in the contralateral hemisphere, cerebrospinal fluid or grey matter outside the visual cortex were automatically excluded. We applied the framework to two distinct high angular resolution diffusion-weighted imaging (HARDI) acquisition protocols on one cohort, comprised of ten healthy volunteers and five MS patients. The OR was successfully delineated in both HARDI acquisitions in the healthy volunteers and MS patients. Quantitative evaluation of the OR position was done by comparing the results with histological reference data. Compared with histological mask, the OR reconstruction into a template (OR-TCT) was highly precise (percentage of voxels within the OR-TCT correctly defined as OR), ranging from 0.71 to 0.83. The sensitivity (percentage of voxels in histological reference mask correctly defined as OR in OR-TCT) ranged from 0.65 to 0.81 and the accuracy (measured by F1 score) was 0.73 to 0.77 in healthy volunteers. When AEC was not applied the precision and accuracy decreased. The absolute agreement between both HARDI datasets measured by the intraclass correlation coefficient was 0.73. This improved framework allowed us to reconstruct the OR with high reliability and accuracy independently of the acquisition parameters. Moreover, the reconstruction was possible even in the presence of tissue damage due to MS. This framework could also be applied to other tracts with complex configuration.
doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0137064
PMCID: PMC4573981  PMID: 26376179
16.  Effects of diazoxide in multiple sclerosis 
Objective:
The aim of this study was to test the safety of diazoxide and to search for signs of efficacy in patients with relapsing-remitting multiple sclerosis (RRMS).
Methods:
In this multicenter, randomized, placebo-controlled, double-blind trial (treatment allocation was concealed), 102 patients with RRMS were randomized to receive a daily oral dose of diazoxide (0.3 and 4 mg/d) or placebo for 24 weeks (NCT01428726). The primary endpoint was the cumulative number of new T1 gadolinium-enhancing lesions per patient, recorded every 4 weeks from week 4 to week 24. Secondary endpoints included brain MRI variables such as the number of new/enlarging T2 lesions and the percentage brain volume change (PBVC); clinical variables such as the percentage of relapse-free patients, relapse rate, and change in the Expanded Disability Status Scale score; and safety and tolerability.
Results:
Diazoxide was well-tolerated and it produced no serious adverse events other than 1 case of Hashimoto disease. At the 2 doses tested, diazoxide did not improve the primary endpoint or the MRI and clinical variables related to the presence of new lesions or relapses. Patients treated with diazoxide showed reduced PBVC compared with the placebo group, although such changes could be confounded by the higher disease activity of the treated group and the vascular effects of diazoxide.
Conclusion:
At the doses tested, oral diazoxide did not decrease the appearance of new lesions evident by MRI. The effects in slowing the progression of brain atrophy require further validation.
Classification of evidence:
This study provides Class I evidence that for patients with RRMS, diazoxide (0.3 and 4 mg/d) does not significantly change the number of new MRI T1 gadolinium-enhancing lesions.
doi:10.1212/NXI.0000000000000147
PMCID: PMC4567455  PMID: 26405686
17.  Update on biomarkers in neuromyelitis optica 
Neuromyelitis optica (NMO) (and NMO spectrum disorder) is an autoimmune inflammatory disease of the CNS primarily affecting spinal cord and optic nerves. Reliable and sensitive biomarkers for onset, relapse, and progression in NMO are urgently needed because of the heterogeneous clinical presentation, severity of neurologic disability following relapses, and variability of therapeutic response. Detecting aquaporin-4 (AQP4) antibodies (AQP4-IgG or NMO-IgG) in serum supports the diagnosis of seropositive NMO. However, whether AQP4-IgG levels correlate with disease activity, severity, response to therapy, or long-term outcomes is unclear. Moreover, biomarkers for patients with seronegative NMO have yet to be defined and validated. Collaborative international studies hold great promise for establishing and validating biomarkers that are useful in therapeutic trials and clinical management. In this review, we discuss known and potential biomarkers for NMO.
doi:10.1212/NXI.0000000000000134
PMCID: PMC4516398  PMID: 26236760
18.  MRI characteristics of neuromyelitis optica spectrum disorder 
Neurology  2015;84(11):1165-1173.
Since its initial reports in the 19th century, neuromyelitis optica (NMO) had been thought to involve only the optic nerves and spinal cord. However, the discovery of highly specific anti–aquaporin-4 antibody diagnostic biomarker for NMO enabled recognition of more diverse clinical spectrum of manifestations. Brain MRI abnormalities in patients seropositive for anti–aquaporin-4 antibody are common and some may be relatively unique by virtue of localization and configuration. Some seropositive patients present with brain involvement during their first attack and/or continue to relapse in the same location without optic nerve and spinal cord involvement. Thus, characteristics of brain abnormalities in such patients have become of increased interest. In this regard, MRI has an increasingly important role in the differential diagnosis of NMO and its spectrum disorder (NMOSD), particularly from multiple sclerosis. Differentiating these conditions is of prime importance because early initiation of effective immunosuppressive therapy is the key to preventing attack-related disability in NMOSD, whereas some disease-modifying drugs for multiple sclerosis may exacerbate the disease. Therefore, identifying the MRI features suggestive of NMOSD has diagnostic and prognostic implications. We herein review the brain, optic nerve, and spinal cord MRI findings of NMOSD.
doi:10.1212/WNL.0000000000001367
PMCID: PMC4371410  PMID: 25695963
19.  Antibodies to Inhibitory Synaptic Proteins in Neurological Syndromes Associated with Glutamic Acid Decarboxylase Autoimmunity 
PLoS ONE  2015;10(3):e0121364.
Antibodies to glutamic acid decarboxylase (GAD-ab) associate to different neurological syndromes. It is unknown if the diversity in syndrome association represents epitopes in different immunodominant domains or co-existence of antibodies to other proteins of the inhibitory synapsis. We examined the serum and CSF of 106 patients with anti-GAD related syndromes (39 cerebellar ataxia, 32 stiff-person syndrome [SPS], 18 epilepsy, and 17 limbic encephalitis [LE]). GAD65-ab titres were quantified by ELISA. Immunoblot was used to determine if the antibody-targeted epitopes of GAD65 and GAD67 were linear. A cell-based assay (CBA) with HEK293 cells expressing the GAD65 N-terminal, central catalytic domain, or C-terminal was used to investigate the immunodominant domains. Antibodies to GAD67, gamma-aminobutyric acid A receptor (GABAaR), glycine receptor (GlyR), GABAaR-associated protein (GABARAP), and gephyrin were determined with CBA. GAD-ab internalization was investigated using cultured rat hippocampal neurons. CSF GAD65-ab titres were higher in patients with cerebellar ataxia and LE compared to those with SPS (p = 0.02). GAD67-ab were identified in 81% of sera and 100% of CSF. GAD65-ab recognized linear epitopes in 98% of the patients and GAD67-ab in 42% (p<0.001). The GAD65 catalytic domain was recognized by 93% of sera, and the three domains by 22% of sera and 74% of CSF (p<0.001). Six patients had GABAaR-ab and another 6 had GlyR-ab without association to distinctive symptoms. None of the patients had gephyrin- or GABARAP-ab. GAD65-ab were not internalized by live neurons. Overall, these findings show that regardless of the neurological syndrome, the CSF immune response against GAD is more widespread than that of the serum and that there is no specific association between clinical phenotype and the presence of antibodies against other proteins of the inhibitory synapsis.
doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0121364
PMCID: PMC4361655  PMID: 25774787
20.  Overlapping demyelinating syndromes and anti-NMDA receptor encephalitis 
Annals of neurology  2014;75(3):411-428.
Objective
To report the clinical, radiological, and immunological association of demyelinating disorders with anti-N-methyl-D-aspartate receptor (NMDAR) encephalitis.
Methods
Clinical and radiological analysis of a cohort of 691 patients with anti-NMDAR encephalitis. Determination of antibodies to NMDAR, aquaporin-4 (AQP4) and myelin oligodendrocyte glycoprotein (MOG) was performed using brain immunohistochemistry and cell-based assays.
Results
Twenty-three of 691 patients with anti-NMDAR encephalitis had prominent MRI and/or clinical features of demyelination. Group 1 included 12 patients in whom anti-NMDAR encephalitis was preceded or followed by independent episodes of NMO-spectrum disorder (5 cases, 4 anti-AQP4-positive), or brainstem or multifocal demyelinating syndromes (7 cases, all anti-MOG-positive). Group 2 included 11 patients in whom anti-NMDAR encephalitis occurred simultaneously with MRI and symptoms compatible with demyelination (5 AQ4-positive, 2 MOG-positive). Group 3 (136 controls) included 50 randomly selected patients with typical anti-NMDAR encephalitis, 56 with NMO, and 30 with multiple sclerosis: NMDAR-antibodies were detected only in the 50 anti-NMDAR patients, MOG-antibodies in 3/50 anti-NMDAR and 1/56 NMO patients, and AQP4-antibodies in 48/56 NMO and 1/50 anti-NMDAR patients (p<0.0001 for all comparisons with Groups 1 and 2). Most patients improved with immunotherapy, but compared with anti-NMDAR encephalitis the demyelinating episodes required more intensive therapy and resulted in more residual deficits. Only 1/23 NMDAR patients with signs of demyelination had ovarian teratoma compared with 18/50 anti-NMDAR controls (p=0.011)
Interpretation
Patients with anti-NMDAR encephalitis may develop concurrent or separate episodes of demyelinating disorders, and conversely patients with NMO or demyelinating disorders with atypical symptoms (e.g., dyskinesias, psychosis) may have anti-NMDAR encephalitis.
doi:10.1002/ana.24117
PMCID: PMC4016175  PMID: 24700511
21.  Knowledge Retrieval from PubMed Abstracts and Electronic Medical Records with the Multiple Sclerosis Ontology 
PLoS ONE  2015;10(2):e0116718.
Background
In order to retrieve useful information from scientific literature and electronic medical records (EMR) we developed an ontology specific for Multiple Sclerosis (MS).
Methods
The MS Ontology was created using scientific literature and expert review under the Protégé OWL environment. We developed a dictionary with semantic synonyms and translations to different languages for mining EMR. The MS Ontology was integrated with other ontologies and dictionaries (diseases/comorbidities, gene/protein, pathways, drug) into the text-mining tool SCAIView. We analyzed the EMRs from 624 patients with MS using the MS ontology dictionary in order to identify drug usage and comorbidities in MS. Testing competency questions and functional evaluation using F statistics further validated the usefulness of MS ontology.
Results
Validation of the lexicalized ontology by means of named entity recognition-based methods showed an adequate performance (F score = 0.73). The MS Ontology retrieved 80% of the genes associated with MS from scientific abstracts and identified additional pathways targeted by approved disease-modifying drugs (e.g. apoptosis pathways associated with mitoxantrone, rituximab and fingolimod). The analysis of the EMR from patients with MS identified current usage of disease modifying drugs and symptomatic therapy as well as comorbidities, which are in agreement with recent reports.
Conclusion
The MS Ontology provides a semantic framework that is able to automatically extract information from both scientific literature and EMR from patients with MS, revealing new pathogenesis insights as well as new clinical information.
doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0116718
PMCID: PMC4321837  PMID: 25665127
22.  The multiple sclerosis visual pathway cohort: understanding neurodegeneration in MS 
BMC Research Notes  2014;7:910.
Background
Multiple Sclerosis (MS) is an immune-mediated disease of the Central Nervous System with two major underlying etiopathogenic processes: inflammation and neurodegeneration. The latter determines the prognosis of this disease. MS is the main cause of non-traumatic disability in middle-aged populations.
Findings
The MS-VisualPath Cohort was set up to study the neurodegenerative component of MS using advanced imaging techniques by focusing on analysis of the visual pathway in a middle-aged MS population in Barcelona, Spain. We started the recruitment of patients in the early phase of MS in 2010 and it remains permanently open. All patients undergo a complete neurological and ophthalmological examination including measurements of physical and disability (Expanded Disability Status Scale; Multiple Sclerosis Functional Composite and neuropsychological tests), disease activity (relapses) and visual function testing (visual acuity, color vision and visual field). The MS-VisualPath protocol also assesses the presence of anxiety and depressive symptoms (Hospital Anxiety and Depression Scale), general quality of life (SF-36) and visual quality of life (25-Item National Eye Institute Visual Function Questionnaire with the 10-Item Neuro-Ophthalmic Supplement). In addition, the imaging protocol includes both retinal (Optical Coherence Tomography and Wide-Field Fundus Imaging) and brain imaging (Magnetic Resonance Imaging). Finally, multifocal Visual Evoked Potentials are used to perform neurophysiological assessment of the visual pathway.
Discussion
The analysis of the visual pathway with advance imaging and electrophysilogical tools in parallel with clinical information will provide significant and new knowledge regarding neurodegeneration in MS and provide new clinical and imaging biomarkers to help monitor disease progression in these patients.
doi:10.1186/1756-0500-7-910
PMCID: PMC4300678  PMID: 25512202
Multiple Sclerosis; Visual pathway; Neurodegeneration; Cohort studies
23.  Natalizumab-related anaphylactoid reactions in MS patients are associated with HLA class II alleles 
Objectives:
We aimed to investigate potential associations between human leukocyte antigen (HLA) class I and class II alleles and the development of anaphylactic/anaphylactoid reactions in patients with multiple sclerosis (MS) treated with natalizumab.
Methods:
HLA class I and II genotyping was performed in patients with MS who experienced anaphylactic/anaphylactoid reactions and in patients who did not develop infusion-related allergic reactions following natalizumab administration.
Results:
A total of 119 patients with MS from 3 different cohorts were included in the study: 54 with natalizumab-related anaphylactic/anaphylactoid reactions and 65 without allergic reactions. HLA-DRB1*13 and HLA-DRB1*14 alleles were significantly increased in patients who developed anaphylactic/anaphylactoid reactions (pM-H = 3 × 10−7; odds ratio [OR]M-H = 8.96, 95% confidence interval [CI] = 3.40–23.64), with a positive predictive value (PPV) of 82%. In contrast, the HLA-DRB1*15 allele was significantly more represented in patients who did not develop anaphylactic/anaphylactoid reactions to natalizumab (pM-H = 6 × 10−4; ORM-H = 0.2, 95% CI = 0.08–0.50), with a PPV of 81%.
Conclusions:
HLA-DRB1 genotyping before natalizumab treatment may help neurologists to identify patients with MS at risk for developing serious systemic hypersensitivity reactions associated with natalizumab administration.
doi:10.1212/NXI.0000000000000047
PMCID: PMC4268037  PMID: 25520955
24.  Randomized Placebo-Controlled Phase II Trial of Autologous Mesenchymal Stem Cells in Multiple Sclerosis 
PLoS ONE  2014;9(12):e113936.
Objective
Uncontrolled studies of mesenchymal stem cells (MSCs) in multiple sclerosis suggested some beneficial effect. In this randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled, crossover phase II study we investigated their safety and efficacy in relapsing-remitting multiple sclerosis patients. Efficacy was evaluated in terms of cumulative number of gadolinium-enhancing lesions (GEL) on magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) at 6 months and at the end of the study.
Methods
Patients unresponsive to conventional therapy, defined by at least 1 relapse and/or GEL on MRI scan in past 12 months, disease duration 2 to 10 years and Expanded Disability Status Scale (EDSS) 3.0–6.5 were randomized to receive IV 1–2×106 bone-marrow-derived-MSCs/Kg or placebo. After 6 months, the treatment was reversed and patients were followed-up for another 6 months. Secondary endpoints were clinical outcomes (relapses and disability by EDSS and MS Functional Composite), and several brain MRI and optical coherence tomography measures. Immunological tests were explored to assess the immunomodulatory effects.
Results
At baseline 9 patients were randomized to receive MSCs (n = 5) or placebo (n = 4). One patient on placebo withdrew after having 3 relapses in the first 5 months. We did not identify any serious adverse events. At 6 months, patients treated with MSCs had a trend to lower mean cumulative number of GEL (3.1, 95% CI = 1.1–8.8 vs 12.3, 95% CI = 4.4–34.5, p = 0.064), and at the end of study to reduced mean GEL (−2.8±5.9 vs 3±5.4, p = 0.075). No significant treatment differences were detected in the secondary endpoints. We observed a non-significant decrease of the frequency of Th1 (CD4+ IFN-γ+) cells in blood of MSCs treated patients.
Conclusion
Bone-marrow-MSCs are safe and may reduce inflammatory MRI parameters supporting their immunomodulatory properties.
ClinicalTrials.gov NCT01228266
doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0113936
PMCID: PMC4250058  PMID: 25436769
25.  Encephalitis and GABAB receptor antibodies 
Neurology  2013;81(17):1500-1506.
Objective:
To report the clinical features of 20 newly diagnosed patients with GABAB receptor (GABABR) antibodies and determine the frequency of associated tumors and concurrent neuronal autoantibodies.
Methods:
Clinical data were retrospectively obtained and evaluated. Serum and CSF samples were examined for additional antibodies using methods previously reported.
Results:
Seventeen patients presented with seizures, memory loss, and confusion, compatible with limbic encephalitis (LE), one patient presented with ataxia, one patient presented with status epilepticus, and one patient presented with opsoclonus-myoclonus syndrome (OMS). Nineteen (95%) patients eventually developed LE during the course of the disease. Small-cell lung cancer (SCLC) was identified in 10 (50%) patients, all with LE. Treatment and outcome was available from 19 patients: 15 showed complete (n = 7) or partial (n = 8) neurologic improvement after steroids, IV immunoglobulins, or plasma exchange and oncologic treatment when indicated; 1 patient died of tumor progression shortly after the first cycle of immunotherapy, and 3 were not treated. Five patients with SCLC had additional onconeuronal antibodies (Ri, amphiphysin, or SOX1), and 2 without tumor had GAD65 and NMDAR antibodies, respectively. GABABR antibodies were not detected in serum of 116 patients with SCLC without neurologic symptoms.
Conclusion:
Our study confirms GABABR as an autoantigen of paraneoplastic and nonparaneoplastic LE and expands the phenotype of GABABR antibodies to ataxia, OMS, and status epilepticus. The long-term prognosis is dictated by the presence of a tumor. Recognition of syndromes associated with GABABR antibodies is important because they usually respond to treatment.
doi:10.1212/WNL.0b013e3182a9585f
PMCID: PMC3888170  PMID: 24068784

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