Publications by authors named "Bernhard Hemmer"

289 Publications

Gray matter atrophy in relapsing-remitting multiple sclerosis is associated with white matter lesions in connecting fibers.

Mult Scler 2021 Sep 30:13524585211044957. Epub 2021 Sep 30.

Department of Neurology, School of Medicine, Technical University of Munich, Munich, Germany/TUM-Neuroimaging Center, School of Medicine, Technical University of Munich, Munich, Germany.

Background: Lesions of brain white matter (WM) and atrophy of brain gray matter (GM) are well-established surrogate parameters in multiple sclerosis (MS), but it is unclear how closely these parameters relate to each other.

Objective: To assess across the whole cerebrum whether GM atrophy can be explained by lesions in connecting WM tracts.

Methods: GM images of 600 patients with relapsing-remitting MS (women = 68%; median age = 33.0 years, median expanded disability status scale score = 1.5) were converted to atrophy maps by data from a healthy control cohort. An atlas of WM tracts from the Human Connectome Project and individual lesion maps were merged to identify potentially disconnected GM regions, leading to individual disconnectome maps. Across the whole cerebrum, GM atrophy and potentially disconnected GM were tested for association both cross-sectionally and longitudinally.

Results: We found highly significant correlations between disconnection and atrophy across most of the cerebrum. Longitudinal analysis demonstrated a close temporal relation of WM lesion formation and GM atrophy in connecting fibers.

Conclusion: GM atrophy is associated with WM lesions in connecting fibers. Caution is warranted when interpreting group differences in GM atrophy exclusively as differences in early neurodegeneration independent of WM lesion formation.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1177/13524585211044957DOI Listing
September 2021

Myelin-oligodendrocyte glycoprotein antibody-associated disease.

Lancet Neurol 2021 09;20(9):762-772

Brain Institute of Rio Grande do Sul and School of Medicine, Pontifical Catholic University of Rio Grande do Sul, Porto Alegre, Brazil.

Myelin-oligodendrocyte glycoprotein antibody-associated disease (MOGAD) is a recently identified autoimmune disorder that presents in both adults and children as CNS demyelination. Although there are clinical phenotypic overlaps between MOGAD, multiple sclerosis, and aquaporin-4 antibody-associated neuromyelitis optica spectrum disorder (NMOSD) cumulative biological, clinical, and pathological evidence discriminates between these conditions. Patients should not be diagnosed with multiple sclerosis or NMOSD if they have anti-MOG antibodies in their serum. However, many questions related to the clinical characterisation of MOGAD and pathogenetic role of MOG antibodies are still unanswered. Furthermore, therapy is mainly based on standard protocols for aquaporin-4 antibody-associated NMOSD and multiple sclerosis, and more evidence is needed regarding how and when to treat patients with MOGAD.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/S1474-4422(21)00218-0DOI Listing
September 2021

Association of peripapillary hyper-reflective ovoid masslike structures and disease duration in primary progressive multiple sclerosis.

Eur J Neurol 2021 Aug 9. Epub 2021 Aug 9.

Department of Neurology, Klinikum rechts der Isar, Technical University of Munich, Munich, Germany.

Background And Purpose: Peripapillary hyper-reflective ovoid masslike structures (PHOMS) are a novel finding during retinal optical coherence tomography in patients with multiple sclerosis (MS). To date, there are no data on the occurrence of PHOMS in early MS. The aim of this study was to investigate the frequency of PHOMS in patients with first diagnosed early relapsing-remitting MS (RRMS) and to search for associations of PHOMS with disease patterns in different MS subtypes.

Methods: This was a cross-sectional analysis in two different cohorts: cohort 1, consisting of early RRMS patients (n = 349); cohort 2, consisting of patients with primary progressive MS (PPMS) (n = 66) and RRMS (n = 65).

Results: Peripapillary hyper-reflective ovoid masslike structures were detected in 18.3% of patients with early RRMS. The occurrence of PHOMS was not associated with age, disease duration and disability. Investigating clinical patterns and the occurrence of PHOMS (cohort 2), an association of PHOMS with higher Expanded Disability Status Scale measures (PHOMS 4.9, 3.7-6.1; no PHOMS 3.5, 3.0-5.3; p = 0.03) and longer disease durations (PHOMS 6.5 years, 1.9-11.0; no PHOMS 1.0 years, 0.0-4.0, p = 0.0007) was found in patients with PPMS but not RRMS. After p value adjustment, the disease duration appeared to be more relevant (β = 0.16, p = 0.06).

Conclusion: Peripapillary hyper-reflective ovoid masslike structures were found in 18% of patients with early MS. The presence of PHOMS might be associated with disease progression only in PPMS but not RRMS, suggesting that PHOMS might be embedded in neurodegenerative processes.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/ene.15056DOI Listing
August 2021

Ethical use of off-label disease-modifying therapies for multiple sclerosis.

Mult Scler 2021 08 26;27(9):1403-1410. Epub 2021 Jul 26.

Department of Neurology-Nehmeh and Therese Tohmeh Multiple Sclerosis Center, American University of Beirut, Beirut, Lebanon/Neurology Institute, Harley Street Medical Center, Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates.

Background: Off-label disease-modifying therapies (DMTs) for multiple sclerosis (MS) are used in at least 89 countries. There is a need for structured and transparent evidence-based guidelines to support clinical decision-making, pharmaceutical policies and reimbursement decisions for off-label DMTs.

Objectives/results: The authors put forward general principles for the ethical use of off-label DMTs for treating MS and a process to assess existing evidence and develop recommendations for their use.

Conclusion: The principles and process are endorsed by the World Federation of Neurology (WFN), American Academy of Neurology (AAN), European Academy of Neurology (EAN), Americas Committee for Treatment and Research in Multiple Sclerosis (ACTRIMS), European Committee for Treatment and Research in Multiple Sclerosis (ECTRIMS), Middle-East North Africa Committee for Treatment and Research in Multiple Sclerosis (MENACTRIMS) and Pan-Asian Committee for Treatment and Research in Multiple Sclerosis (PACTRIMS), and we have regularly consulted with the Brain Health Unit, Mental Health and Substance Use Department at the World Health Organization (WHO).
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1177/13524585211030207DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC8358542PMC
August 2021

The Aryl Hydrocarbon Receptor-Dependent TGF-α/VEGF-B Ratio Correlates With Disease Subtype and Prognosis in Multiple Sclerosis.

Neurol Neuroimmunol Neuroinflamm 2021 07 23;8(5). Epub 2021 Jul 23.

From the Department of Neurology (A.C., T.T., T.B., M.L., T.A., V.G., L.N., B.H., V.R.), Klinikum Rechts der Isar, Technical University of Munich Department of Neurology (T.T., M.L., L.L., V.R.), University Hospital Erlangen, Friedrich Alexander University Erlangen-Nuernberg, Germany; Ann Romney Center for Neurologic Diseases (F.J.Q.), Brigham and Women's Hospital, Harvard Medical School, Boston; Broad Institute of MIT and Harvard (F.J.Q.), Cambridge, MA; and Munich Cluster for Systems Neurology (SyNergy) (B.H.), Germany.

Objective: To evaluate the aryl hydrocarbon receptor (AHR)-dependent transforming growth factor alpha (TGF-α)/vascular endothelial growth factor B (VEGF-B) ratio, which regulates the effects of metabolic, dietary, and microbial factors on acute and chronic CNS inflammation, as a potential marker in multiple sclerosis (MS).

Methods: TGF-α, VEGF-B, and AHR agonistic activity were determined in serum of 252 patients with relapsing-remitting (RR) MS, primary and secondary progressive MS, as well as during active disease (clinically isolated syndrome [CIS] and RRMS relapse).

Results: The TGF-α/VEGF-B ratio and AHR agonistic activity were decreased in all MS subgroups with a stable disease course as compared to controls. During active CNS inflammation in CIS and RRMS relapse, the TGF-α/VEGF-B ratio and AHR agonistic activity were increased. Conversely, in patients with minimal clinical impairment despite long-standing disease, the TGF-α/VEGF-B ratio and AHR agonistic activity were unaltered. Finally, the TGF-α/VEGF-B ratio and AHR agonistic activity correlated with neurologic impairment and time to conversion from CIS to MS.

Conclusions: The AHR-dependent TGF-α/VEGF-B ratio is altered in a subtype, severity, and disease activity-specific manner and correlates with time to conversion from CIS to MS. It may thus represent a novel marker and serve as additive guideline for immunomodulatory strategies in MS.

Classification Of Evidence: This study provides Class III evidence that serum levels of AHR, TGF-α, and VEGF-B distinguish subtypes of MS and predict the severity and disease activity of MS.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1212/NXI.0000000000001043DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC8312279PMC
July 2021

Combined Treatment With Pembrolizumab and Allogenic BK Virus-Specific T Cells in Progressive Multifocal Leukoencephalopathy: A Case Report.

Neurol Neuroimmunol Neuroinflamm 2021 07 20;8(5). Epub 2021 Jul 20.

From the Department of Neurology (R.W., T.K., B.H., M.D.), Klinikum rechts der Isar, Technical University Munich; Medical Department III for Hematology and Oncology (S.H., M.V.), Klinikum rechts der Isar, Technical University Munich; Institute for Transfusion Medicine (B.E.-V.), Hannover Medical School; Department of Pediatric Hematology and Oncology (B.M.-K.), Hannover Medical School; Department of Neuroradiology (J.S.K.), Klinikum Rechts der Isar, Technical University Munich; Unilabs A/S (A.P.), Copenhagen, Denmark; Institute of Experimental Neuroimmunology (T.K.), Klinikum rechts der Isar, Technical University of Munich; and Munich Cluster for Systems Neurology (SyNergy) (T.K., B.H.), Germany.

Objective: We report a combination of BK virus-specific T cells and pembrolizumab as a treatment option in progressive multifocal leukoencephalopathy (PML).

Results: A 57-year-old male patient diagnosed with PML presented a fast-progressing right hemiparesis, aphasia, and cognitive deficits. Brain MRI showed a severe leukoencephalopathy with diffusion restriction. The patient was treated with 10 doses of pembrolizumab (2 mg/kg body weight) in differing intervals and 2 partially human leukocyte antigen-matched allogenic BK virus-specific T cell transfusions after the fifth pembrolizumab treatment. Although pembrolizumab alone decreased the viral load but failed to control the virus, BK-specific T cell transfer further enhanced the decline of JC virus copies in the CSF. Moreover, the regression of leukoencephalopathy and disappearance of diffusion restriction in subsequent brain MRI were observed. The combined treatment resulted in a clinical stabilization with improvements of the cognitive and speech deficits.

Discussion: This case supports the hypothesis that pembrolizumab is more efficient in the presence of an appropriate number of functional antigen-specific T cells. Thus, the combined treatment of pembrolizumab and virus-specific T cells should be further evaluated as a treatment option for PML in future clinical trials.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1212/NXI.0000000000001042DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC8293283PMC
July 2021

Frequency of myelin oligodendrocyte glycoprotein antibodies in a large cohort of neurological patients.

Mult Scler J Exp Transl Clin 2021 Apr-Jun;7(2):20552173211022767. Epub 2021 Jun 25.

Department of Neurology, Klinikum rechts der Isar, Medical Faculty, Technische Universität München, Munich, Germany.

Background: Myelin oligodendrocyte glycoprotein (MOG) antibody disease (MOG-AD) is recognized as a distinct nosological entity. IgG antibodies against MOG (MOG-Ab) overlap with neuromyelitis optica spectrum disorders (NMOSD) phenotype in adults. However, an increasing number of clinical phenotypes have been reported to be associated with MOG-Ab.

Objective: To investigate the seroprevalence of MOG-Ab under consideration of demographics, disease entities and time course in a large cohort of unselected neurological patients.

Methods: Blood samples of 2.107 consecutive adult neurologic patients admitted to our department between 2016-2017 were tested for MOG-Ab using a cell-based assay. MOG-Ab persistence was analyzed in follow-up samples. External validation was performed in two independent laboratories.

Results: We found MOG-Ab in 25 of 2.107 (1.2%) patients. High antibody ratios were mostly associated with NMOSD and MOG-AD phenotype (5/25). Low ratios occurred in a wide range of neurological diseases, predominantly in other demyelinating CNS diseases (5/25) and stroke (6/25). MOG-Ab persistence over time was not confined to NMOSD and MOG-AD phenotype.

Conclusion: The present study demonstrates the occurrence of MOG-Ab in a wide range of neurological diseases. Only high MOG-Ab ratios were associated with a defined clinical phenotype, but low MOG-Ab ratios were not. The diagnostic value of low MOG-Ab is thus highly limited.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1177/20552173211022767DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC8246507PMC
June 2021

Optical coherence tomography angiography indicates subclinical retinal disease in neuromyelitis optica spectrum disorders.

Mult Scler 2021 Jul 14:13524585211028831. Epub 2021 Jul 14.

Department of Neurology, Klinikum rechts der Isar, Technical University of Munich, Munich, Germany/Institute for Experimental Neuroimmunology, Technical University of Munich, Munich, Germany.

Background: Neuromyelitis optica spectrum disorders (NMOSD) are neuroinflammatory diseases of the central nervous system. Patients suffer from recurring relapses and it is unclear whether relapse-independent disease activity occurs and whether this is of clinical relevance.

Objective: To detect disease-specific alterations of the retinal vasculature that reflect disease activity during NMOSD.

Methods: Cross-sectional analysis of 16 patients with NMOSD, 21 patients with relapsing-remitting multiple sclerosis, and 21 healthy controls using retinal optical coherence tomography (OCT), optical coherence tomography angiography (OCT-A), measurement of glial fibrillary acidic protein (GFAP) serum levels, and assessment of visual acuity.

Results: Patients with NMOSD but not multiple sclerosis revealed lower foveal thickness (FT) ( = 0.02) measures and an increase of the foveal avascular zone (FAZ) ( = 0.02) compared to healthy controls independent to optic neuritis. Reduced FT ( = 0.01), enlarged FAZ areas ( = 0.0001), and vessel loss of the superficial vascular complex ( = 0.01) were linked to higher serum GFAP levels and superficial vessel loss was associated with worse visual performance in patients with NMOSD irrespective of optic neuritis.

Conclusion: Subclinical parafoveal retinal vessel loss might occur during NMOSD and might be linked to astrocyte damage and poor visual performance. OCT-A may be a tool to study subclinical disease activity during NMOSD.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1177/13524585211028831DOI Listing
July 2021

Skin and gut imprinted helper T cell subsets exhibit distinct functional phenotypes in central nervous system autoimmunity.

Nat Immunol 2021 07 7;22(7):880-892. Epub 2021 Jun 7.

Institute for Experimental Neuroimmunology, Klinikum rechts der Isar, Technical University of Munich, Munich, Germany.

Multidimensional single-cell analyses of T cells have fueled the debate about whether there is extensive plasticity or 'mixed' priming of helper T cell subsets in vivo. Here, we developed an experimental framework to probe the idea that the site of priming in the systemic immune compartment is a determinant of helper T cell-induced immunopathology in remote organs. By site-specific in vivo labeling of antigen-specific T cells in inguinal (i) or gut draining mesenteric (m) lymph nodes, we show that i-T cells and m-T cells isolated from the inflamed central nervous system (CNS) in a model of multiple sclerosis (MS) are distinct. i-T cells were Cxcr6, and m-T cells expressed P2rx7. Notably, m-T cells infiltrated white matter, while i-T cells were also recruited to gray matter. Therefore, we propose that the definition of helper T cell subsets by their site of priming may guide an advanced understanding of helper T cell biology in health and disease.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1038/s41590-021-00948-8DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7611097PMC
July 2021

Anti-CD20 Depletes Meningeal B Cells but Does Not Halt the Formation of Meningeal Ectopic Lymphoid Tissue.

Neurol Neuroimmunol Neuroinflamm 2021 07 21;8(4). Epub 2021 May 21.

From the Department of Neurology (R.M.B., V.F., J.D., M.P., F.R.F., K.L.-H.), School of Medicine, Technical University of Munich; Department of Neuropathology (H.R.), Charité - Universitätsmedizin Berlin; Department of Neurology (B.H.), School of Medicine, Technical University of Munich, Munich Cluster of Systems Neurology (SyNergy), Germany; and Comparative Experimental Pathology (CEP) (K.S.), Department of Pathology, School of Medicine, Technical University of Munich, Germany.

Objective: To investigate whether anti-CD20 B-cell-depleting monoclonal antibodies (ɑCD20 mAbs) inhibit the formation or retention of meningeal ectopic lymphoid tissue (mELT) in a murine model of multiple sclerosis (MS).

Methods: We used a spontaneous chronic experimental autoimmune encephalomyelitis (EAE) model of mice with mutant T-cell and B-cell receptors specific for myelin oligodendrocyte glycoprotein (MOG), which develop meningeal inflammatory infiltrates resembling those described in MS. ɑCD20 mAbs were administered in either a preventive or a treatment regimen. The extent and cellular composition of mELT was assessed by histology and immunohistochemistry.

Results: ɑCD20 mAb, applied in a paradigm to either prevent or treat EAE, did not alter the disease course in either condition. However, ɑCD20 mAb depleted virtually all B cells from the meningeal compartment but failed to prevent the formation of mELT altogether. Because of the absence of B cells, mELT was less densely populated with immune cells and the cellular composition was changed, with increased neutrophil granulocytes.

Conclusions: These results demonstrate that, in CNS autoimmune disease, meningeal inflammatory infiltrates may form and persist in the absence of B cells. Together with the finding that ɑCD20 mAb does not ameliorate spontaneous chronic EAE with mELT, our data suggest that mELT may have yet unknown capacities that are independent of B cells and contribute to CNS autoimmunity.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1212/NXI.0000000000001012DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC8143698PMC
July 2021

Systematic Assessment of Medical Diagnoses Preceding the First Diagnosis of Multiple Sclerosis.

Neurology 2021 Apr 26. Epub 2021 Apr 26.

Department of Neurology, Klinikum rechts der Isar, TUM School of Medicine, Technical University of Munich, Ismaninger Str. 22, 81675 Munich, Germany.

Objective: To explore the occurrence of diseases and symptoms in the five years prior to diagnosis in patients with multiple sclerosis (MS) in a case-control study.

Methods: Using ambulatory claims data we systematically assessed differences in the occurrence of diseases and symptoms in the five years prior to first diagnosis in patients with MS (n=10,262) as compared to patients with two other autoimmune diseases - Crohn's disease (n=15,502) and psoriasis (n=98,432) - and individuals without these diseases (n=73,430).

Results: Forty-three ICD-10 codes were recorded more frequently for patients with MS before diagnosis as compared to controls without autoimmune disease. Many of these findings were confirmed in a comparison to the other control groups. A high proportion of these ICD-10 codes represent symptoms suggestive of demyelinating events or other neurological diagnoses. In a sensitivity analysis excluding patients with such recordings prior to first diagnosis, no association remained significant. Seven ICD-10 codes were associated with lower odds ratios of MS, four of which represented upper respiratory tract infections. Here, the relations with MS were even more pronounced in the sensitivity analysis.

Conclusions: Our analyses suggest that patients with MS are frequently not diagnosed at their first demyelinating event but often years later. Symptoms and physician encounters before MS diagnosis seem to be related to already ongoing disease rather than a prodrome. The observed association of upper respiratory tract infections with lower ORs of MS diagnosis suggests a link between protection from infection and MS that however needs to be validated and further investigated.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1212/WNL.0000000000012074DOI Listing
April 2021

Impact of COVID-19 on multiple sclerosis care and management: Results from the European Committee for Treatment and Research in Multiple Sclerosis survey.

Mult Scler 2021 Mar 25:13524585211005339. Epub 2021 Mar 25.

Department of Neurofarba, University of Florence, Florence, Italy/IRCCS Fondazione Don Carlo Gnocchi, Florence, Italy.

Background: The spread of Coronavirus disease-19 (COVID-19) poses unique challenges in the management of people with multiple sclerosis (PwMS).

Objectives: To collect data about the impact of COVID-19 emergency on access to care for PwMS and on MS treatment practices.

Methods: Between March and July 2020, the European Committee for Treatment and Research in Multiple Sclerosis (ECTRIMS) promoted an online survey covering patient access to care, management of relapses and visits, disease-modifying therapy (DMT) and experience with COVID-19.

Results: Three-hundred and sixty neurologists from 52 countries (68% from Europe) completed the survey. 98% reported COVID-19-related restrictions. Telemedicine was adopted to overcome the limited access to care and was newly activated (73%) or widely implemented (17%). 70% reported changes in DMT management. Interferons and glatiramer were considered safe. Dimethyl fumarate, teriflunomide and fingolimod were considered safe except for patients developing lymphopenia. No modifications were considered for natalizumab in 64%, cladribine in 24%, anti-CD20 in 22% and alemtuzumab in 17%; 18% (for alemtuzumab and cladribine) and 43% (for anti-CD20) considered postponing treatment.

Conclusion: The ECTRIMS survey highlighted the challenges in keeping standards of care in clinical practice. Telemedicine clearly needs to be implemented. Gathering data on DMT safety will remain crucial to inform treatment decisions.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1177/13524585211005339DOI Listing
March 2021

Genetic Variation in WNT9B Increases Relapse Hazard in Multiple Sclerosis.

Ann Neurol 2021 05 24;89(5):884-894. Epub 2021 Mar 24.

Department of Neurosciences, Laboratory for Neuroimmunology, KU Leuven, Leuven, Belgium.

Objective: Many multiple sclerosis (MS) genetic susceptibility variants have been identified, but understanding disease heterogeneity remains a key challenge. Relapses are a core feature of MS and a common primary outcome of clinical trials, with prevention of relapses benefiting patients immediately and potentially limiting long-term disability accrual. We aim to identify genetic variation associated with relapse hazard in MS by analyzing the largest study population to date.

Methods: We performed a genomewide association study (GWAS) in a discovery cohort and investigated the genomewide significant variants in a replication cohort. Combining both cohorts, we captured a total of 2,231 relapses occurring before the start of any immunomodulatory treatment in 991 patients. For assessing time to relapse, we applied a survival analysis utilizing Cox proportional hazards models. We also investigated the association between MS genetic risk scores and relapse hazard and performed a gene ontology pathway analysis.

Results: The low-frequency genetic variant rs11871306 within WNT9B reached genomewide significance in predicting relapse hazard and replicated (meta-analysis hazard ratio (HR) = 2.15, 95% confidence interval (CI) = 1.70-2.78, p = 2.07 × 10 ). A pathway analysis identified an association of the pathway "response to vitamin D" with relapse hazard (p = 4.33 × 10 ). The MS genetic risk scores, however, were not associated with relapse hazard.

Interpretation: Genetic factors underlying disease heterogeneity differ from variants associated with MS susceptibility. Our findings imply that genetic variation within the Wnt signaling and vitamin D pathways contributes to differences in relapse occurrence. The present study highlights these cross-talking pathways as potential modulators of MS disease activity. ANN NEUROL 2021;89:884-894.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1002/ana.26061DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC8252032PMC
May 2021

Specific Induction of Double Negative B Cells During Protective and Pathogenic Immune Responses.

Front Immunol 2020 18;11:606338. Epub 2020 Dec 18.

Department of Neurology and Stroke, Eberhard-Karls University, Tübingen, Germany.

Double negative (DN) (CD19CD20CD27IgD) B cells are expanded in patients with autoimmune and infectious diseases; however their role in the humoral immune response remains unclear. Using systematic flow cytometric analyses of peripheral blood B cell subsets, we observed an inflated DN B cell population in patients with variety of active inflammatory conditions: myasthenia gravis, Guillain-Barré syndrome, neuromyelitis optica spectrum disorder, meningitis/encephalitis, and rheumatic disorders. Furthermore, we were able to induce DN B cells in healthy subjects following vaccination against influenza and tick borne encephalitis virus. Transcriptome analysis revealed a gene expression profile in DN B cells that clustered with naïve B cells, memory B cells, and plasmablasts. Immunoglobulin VH transcriptome sequencing and analysis of recombinant antibodies revealed clonal expansion of DN B cells that were targeted against the vaccine antigen. Our study suggests that DN B cells are expanded in multiple inflammatory neurologic diseases and represent an inducible B cell population that responds to antigenic stimulation, possibly through an extra-follicular maturation pathway.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.3389/fimmu.2020.606338DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7775384PMC
June 2021

Sunlight exposure exerts immunomodulatory effects to reduce multiple sclerosis severity.

Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A 2021 01;118(1)

Department of Neurology, Neuroimmunological Section, University of Rostock, 18051 Rostock, Germany.

Multiple sclerosis (MS) disease risk is associated with reduced sun-exposure. This study assessed the relationship between measures of sun exposure (vitamin D [vitD], latitude) and MS severity in the setting of two multicenter cohort studies ( = 946, = 990). Additionally, effect-modification by medication and photosensitivity-associated variants was assessed. High serum vitD was associated with a reduced MS severity score (MSSS), reduced risk for relapses, and lower disability accumulation over time. Low latitude was associated with higher vitD, lower MSSS, fewer gadolinium-enhancing lesions, and lower disability accumulation. The association of latitude with disability was lacking in IFN-β-treated patients. In carriers of :rs1805008(T), who reported increased sensitivity toward sunlight, lower latitude was associated with higher MRI activity, whereas for noncarriers there was less MRI activity at lower latitudes. In a further exploratory approach, the effect of ultraviolet (UV)-phototherapy on the transcriptome of immune cells of MS patients was assessed using samples from an earlier study. Phototherapy induced a vitD and type I IFN signature that was most apparent in monocytes but that could also be detected in B and T cells. In summary, our study suggests beneficial effects of sun exposure on established MS, as demonstrated by a correlative network between the three factors: Latitude, vitD, and disease severity. However, sun exposure might be detrimental for photosensitive patients. Furthermore, a direct induction of type I IFNs through sun exposure could be another mechanism of UV-mediated immune-modulation in MS.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1073/pnas.2018457118DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7817192PMC
January 2021

Aryl Hydrocarbon Receptor Plasma Agonist Activity Correlates With Disease Activity in Progressive MS.

Neurol Neuroimmunol Neuroinflamm 2021 03 24;8(2). Epub 2020 Dec 24.

From the Department of Neurology (T.T., T.B., L.N., M.L., V.G., M.B., M.M., T.K., B.H., V.R.), Klinikum rechts der Isar, Technical University of Munich; Department of Neurology (T.T., V.R.), University Hospital Erlangen, Friedrich-Alexander University Erlangen-Nuernberg; Munich Cluster for Systems Neurology (SyNergy) (T.K., B.H.), Germany; Ann Romney Center for Neurologic Diseases (E.T., F.J.Q.), Brigham and Women's Hospital, Harvard Medical School, Boston, MA; Broad Institute of MIT and Harvard (F.J.Q.), Cambridge, MA; and TUM-Neuroimaging Center (M.B., M.M.), Klinikum rechts der Isar, Technische Universität München, Germany.

Objective: The relationship between serum aryl hydrocarbon receptor (AHR) agonistic activity levels with disease severity, its modulation over the course of relapsing-remitting MS (RRMS), and its regulation in progressive MS (PMS) are unknown. Here, we report the analysis of AHR agonistic activity levels in cross-sectional and longitudinal serum samples of patients with RRMS and PMS.

Methods: In a cross-sectional investigation, a total of 36 control patients diagnosed with noninflammatory diseases, 84 patients with RRMS, 35 patients with secondary progressive MS (SPMS), and 41 patients with primary progressive MS (PPMS) were included in this study. AHR activity was measured in a cell-based luciferase assay and correlated with age, sex, the presence of disease-modifying therapies, Expanded Disability Status Scale scores, and disease duration. In a second longitudinal investigation, we analyzed AHR activity in 13 patients diagnosed with RRMS over a period from 4 to 10 years and correlated AHR agonistic activity with white matter atrophy and lesion load volume changes.

Results: In RRMS, AHR ligand levels were globally decreased and associated with disease duration and neurologic disability. In SPMS and PPMS, serum AHR agonistic activity was decreased and correlated with disease severity. Finally, in longitudinal serum samples of patients with RRMS, decreased AHR agonistic activity was linked to progressive CNS atrophy and increased lesion load.

Conclusions: These findings suggest that serum AHR agonist levels negatively correlate with disability in RRMS and PMS and decrease longitudinally in correlation with MRI markers of disease progression. Thus, serum AHR agonistic activity may serve as novel biomarker for disability progression in MS.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1212/NXI.0000000000000933DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7768947PMC
March 2021

Fatigue, depression, and pain in multiple sclerosis: How neuroinflammation translates into dysfunctional reward processing and anhedonic symptoms.

Mult Scler 2020 Nov 12:1352458520972279. Epub 2020 Nov 12.

Department of Neurology, Klinikum rechts der Isar, School of Medicine, Technical University of Munich, Munich, Germany/TUM-Neuroimaging Center, School of Medicine, Technical University of Munich, Munich, Germany.

Fatigue, depression, and pain affect the majority of multiple sclerosis (MS) patients, which causes a substantial burden to patients and society. The pathophysiology of these symptoms is not entirely clear, and current treatments are only partially effective. Clinically, these symptoms share signs of anhedonia, such as reduced motivation and a lack of positive affect. In the brain, they are associated with overlapping structural and functional alterations in areas involved in reward processing. Moreover, neuroinflammation has been shown to directly impede monoaminergic neurotransmission that plays a key role in reward processing. Here, we review recent neuroimaging and neuroimmunological findings, which indicate that dysfunctional reward processing might represent a shared functional mechanism fostering the symptom cluster of fatigue, depression, and pain in MS. We propose a framework that integrates these findings with a focus on monoaminergic neurotransmission and discuss its therapeutic implications, limitations, and perspectives.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1177/1352458520972279DOI Listing
November 2020

Treatment- and population-specific genetic risk factors for anti-drug antibodies against interferon-beta: a GWAS.

BMC Med 2020 11 4;18(1):298. Epub 2020 Nov 4.

Department of Neurology, Klinikum rechts der Isar, School of Medicine, Technical University of Munich, Ismaninger Str 22, 81675, Munich, Germany.

Background: Upon treatment with biopharmaceuticals, the immune system may produce anti-drug antibodies (ADA) that inhibit the therapy. Up to 40% of multiple sclerosis patients treated with interferon β (IFNβ) develop ADA, for which a genetic predisposition exists. Here, we present a genome-wide association study on ADA and predict the occurrence of antibodies in multiple sclerosis patients treated with different interferon β preparations.

Methods: We analyzed a large sample of 2757 genotyped and imputed patients from two cohorts (Sweden and Germany), split between a discovery and a replication dataset. Binding ADA (bADA) levels were measured by capture-ELISA, neutralizing ADA (nADA) titers using a bioassay. Genome-wide association analyses were conducted stratified by cohort and treatment preparation, followed by fixed-effects meta-analysis.

Results: Binding ADA levels and nADA titers were correlated and showed a significant heritability (47% and 50%, respectively). The risk factors differed strongly by treatment preparation: The top-associated and replicated variants for nADA presence were the HLA-associated variants rs77278603 in IFNβ-1a s.c.- (odds ratio (OR) = 3.55 (95% confidence interval = 2.81-4.48), p = 2.1 × 10) and rs28366299 in IFNβ-1b s.c.-treated patients (OR = 3.56 (2.69-4.72), p = 6.6 × 10). The rs77278603-correlated HLA haplotype DR15-DQ6 conferred risk specifically for IFNβ-1a s.c. (OR = 2.88 (2.29-3.61), p = 7.4 × 10) while DR3-DQ2 was protective (OR = 0.37 (0.27-0.52), p = 3.7 × 10). The haplotype DR4-DQ3 was the major risk haplotype for IFNβ-1b s.c. (OR = 7.35 (4.33-12.47), p = 1.5 × 10). These haplotypes exhibit large population-specific frequency differences. The best prediction models were achieved for ADA in IFNβ-1a s.c.-treated patients. Here, the prediction in the Swedish cohort showed AUC = 0.91 (0.85-0.95), sensitivity = 0.78, and specificity = 0.90; patients with the top 30% of genetic risk had, compared to patients in the bottom 30%, an OR = 73.9 (11.8-463.6, p = 4.4 × 10) of developing nADA. In the German cohort, the AUC of the same model was 0.83 (0.71-0.92), sensitivity = 0.80, specificity = 0.76, with an OR = 13.8 (3.0-63.3, p = 7.5 × 10).

Conclusions: We identified several HLA-associated genetic risk factors for ADA against interferon β, which were specific for treatment preparations and population backgrounds. Genetic prediction models could robustly identify patients at risk for developing ADA and might be used for personalized therapy recommendations and stratified ADA screening in clinical practice. These analyses serve as a roadmap for genetic characterizations of ADA against other biopharmaceutical compounds.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1186/s12916-020-01769-6DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7641861PMC
November 2020

Clinicogenomic factors of biotherapy immunogenicity in autoimmune disease: A prospective multicohort study of the ABIRISK consortium.

PLoS Med 2020 10 30;17(10):e1003348. Epub 2020 Oct 30.

Department of Neurology, Medical University of Graz, Austria.

Background: Biopharmaceutical products (BPs) are widely used to treat autoimmune diseases, but immunogenicity limits their efficacy for an important proportion of patients. Our knowledge of patient-related factors influencing the occurrence of antidrug antibodies (ADAs) is still limited.

Methods And Findings: The European consortium ABIRISK (Anti-Biopharmaceutical Immunization: prediction and analysis of clinical relevance to minimize the RISK) conducted a clinical and genomic multicohort prospective study of 560 patients with multiple sclerosis (MS, n = 147), rheumatoid arthritis (RA, n = 229), Crohn's disease (n = 148), or ulcerative colitis (n = 36) treated with 8 different biopharmaceuticals (etanercept, n = 84; infliximab, n = 101; adalimumab, n = 153; interferon [IFN]-beta-1a intramuscularly [IM], n = 38; IFN-beta-1a subcutaneously [SC], n = 68; IFN-beta-1b SC, n = 41; rituximab, n = 31; tocilizumab, n = 44) and followed during the first 12 months of therapy for time to ADA development. From the bioclinical data collected, we explored the relationships between patient-related factors and the occurrence of ADAs. Both baseline and time-dependent factors such as concomitant medications were analyzed using Cox proportional hazard regression models. Mean age and disease duration were 35.1 and 0.85 years, respectively, for MS; 54.2 and 3.17 years for RA; and 36.9 and 3.69 years for inflammatory bowel diseases (IBDs). In a multivariate Cox regression model including each of the clinical and genetic factors mentioned hereafter, among the clinical factors, immunosuppressants (adjusted hazard ratio [aHR] = 0.408 [95% confidence interval (CI) 0.253-0.657], p < 0.001) and antibiotics (aHR = 0.121 [0.0437-0.333], p < 0.0001) were independently negatively associated with time to ADA development, whereas infections during the study (aHR = 2.757 [1.616-4.704], p < 0.001) and tobacco smoking (aHR = 2.150 [1.319-3.503], p < 0.01) were positively associated. 351,824 Single-Nucleotide Polymorphisms (SNPs) and 38 imputed Human Leukocyte Antigen (HLA) alleles were analyzed through a genome-wide association study. We found that the HLA-DQA1*05 allele significantly increased the rate of immunogenicity (aHR = 3.9 [1.923-5.976], p < 0.0001 for the homozygotes). Among the 6 genetic variants selected at a 20% false discovery rate (FDR) threshold, the minor allele of rs10508884, which is situated in an intron of the CXCL12 gene, increased the rate of immunogenicity (aHR = 3.804 [2.139-6.764], p < 1 × 10-5 for patients homozygous for the minor allele) and was chosen for validation through a CXCL12 protein enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay (ELISA) on patient serum at baseline before therapy start. CXCL12 protein levels were higher for patients homozygous for the minor allele carrying higher ADA risk (mean: 2,693 pg/ml) than for the other genotypes (mean: 2,317 pg/ml; p = 0.014), and patients with CXCL12 levels above the median in serum were more prone to develop ADAs (aHR = 2.329 [1.106-4.90], p = 0.026). A limitation of the study is the lack of replication; therefore, other studies are required to confirm our findings.

Conclusion: In our study, we found that immunosuppressants and antibiotics were associated with decreased risk of ADA development, whereas tobacco smoking and infections during the study were associated with increased risk. We found that the HLA-DQA1*05 allele was associated with an increased rate of immunogenicity. Moreover, our results suggest a relationship between CXCL12 production and ADA development independent of the disease, which is consistent with its known function in affinity maturation of antibodies and plasma cell survival. Our findings may help physicians in the management of patients receiving biotherapies.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1371/journal.pmed.1003348DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7598520PMC
October 2020

Code Stroke Patient Referral by Emergency Medical Services During the Public COVID-19 Pandemic Lockdown.

J Stroke Cerebrovasc Dis 2020 Nov 21;29(11):105175. Epub 2020 Jul 21.

Department of Neurology, Klinikum rechts der Isar, School of Medicine, Technical University of Munich, Munich, Germany.

Background: The COVID-19 pandemic caused public lockdowns around the world. We analyzed if the public lockdown altered the referral pattern of Code Stroke patients by Emergency Medical Services (EMS) to our Comprehensive Stroke Center.

Methods: Retrospective single-center study at a Bavarian Comprehensive Stroke Center. Patients who were directly referred to our stroke unit by EMS between the 1 of January 2020 and the 19 of April 2020 were identified and number of referrals, clinical characteristics and treatment strategies were analyzed during the public lockdown and before. The public lockdown started on 21 of March and ended on 19 April 2020.

Results: In total 241 patients were referred to our center during the study period, i.e. 171 before and 70 during the lockdown. The absolute daily number of Code Stroke referrals and the portion of patients with stroke mimics remained stable. The portion of female stroke patients decreased (55% to 33%; p = 0.03), and stroke severity as measured by the National Institutes of Health Stroke Scale (median 3 (IQR 0-7) versus 6 (IQR 1-15.5) points; p = 0.04) increased during the lockdown. There was no difference of daily numbers of patients receiving thrombolysis and thrombectomy.

Conclusions: Referral of Code Stroke patients by EMS could be maintained sufficiently despite the COVID-19 pandemic lockdown. However, patients' health care utilization of the EMS may have changed within the public lockdown. EMS remains a useful tool for Code Stroke patient referral during lockdowns, but public education about stroke is required prior to further lockdowns.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.jstrokecerebrovasdis.2020.105175DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7373060PMC
November 2020

Vaccination in B-cell-depleted patients with multiple sclerosis.

Neurology 2020 10 29;95(14):613-614. Epub 2020 Jul 29.

From the Department of Neurology (J.K.), MS Center Amsterdam, Amsterdam Neuroscience, Amsterdam UMC, Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam, the Netherlands; Department of Clinical Neurosciences (R.D.P.), Service of Neurology, Lausanne University Hospital and University of Lausanne, Switzerland; Department of Neurology (B.H.), School of Medicine, Technical University of Munich; and Munich Cluster for Systems Neurology (B.H.), Munich, Germany.

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http://dx.doi.org/10.1212/WNL.0000000000010378DOI Listing
October 2020

Genetic determinants of the humoral immune response in MS.

Neurol Neuroimmunol Neuroinflamm 2020 09 16;7(5). Epub 2020 Jul 16.

From the Department of Neurology (C.G., T.F.M.A., A. Keating, B.K., A. Klein, V.P., A. Berthele, B.H.), Klinikum rechts der Isar, School of Medicine, Technical University of Munich; Institute of Human Genetics (P.L.), Helmholtz Zentrum München, Neuherberg; Department of Neurology (R.G.), St. Josef Hospital, Ruhr-University Bochum; Department of Neurology, Focus Program Translational Neurosciences (FTN) and Research Center for Immunotherapy (FZI), Rhine-Main Neuroscience Network (rmn2) (F.Z.), University Medical Center of the Johannes Gutenberg University Mainz; Department of Neurology and Translational Center for Regenerative Medicine (F.T.B.), University of Leipzig; Clinical Neuroimmunology and Neurochemistry (M.S.), Department of Neurology, Hannover Medical School, Hannover; Department of Neurology (H.T.), University of Ulm; Clinic of Neurology Dietenbronn (H.T.), Schwendi; Department of Neurology (B.W.), University Hospital Heidelberg; Department of Neurology (H.W.), University of Münster; Department of Neurology (A. Bayas), University Hospital Augsburg; Institute of Clinical Neuroimmunology (T.K.), University Hospital and Biomedical Center, Ludwig-Maximilians University Munich; Department of Neurology (U.K.Z.), Neuroimmunological Section, University of Rostock; Department of Neurology (R.A.L.), University Hospital Erlangen; Department of Neurology (R.A.L.), University of Regensburg; Department of Neurology & Stroke and Hertie-Institute for Clinical Brain Research (U.Z.), Eberhard-Karls-Universität Tübingen; Max Planck Institute of Psychiatry (M.K.), Munich; Department of Neurology (C.W.), Medical Faculty, Heinrich Heine University, Düsseldorf; Department of Neurology (C.W.), University Hospital Cologne; Institute of Neuroimmunology and Multiple Sclerosis (M.A.F), University Medical Centre Hamburg-Eppendorf, Hamburg; NeuroCure Clinical Research Center (F.P.), Charité-Universitätsmedizin Berlin, Corporate Member of Freie Universität Berlin, Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin; Berlin Institute of Health and Experimental and Clinical Research Center (F.P.), Max Delbrück Center for Molecular Medicine and Charité-Universitätsmedizin Berlin; and Center of Neuroimmunology (B.T.), Philipps-University Marburg; and Munich Cluster for Systems Neurology (SyNergy) (B.H.), Germany.

Objective: In this observational study, we investigated the impact of genetic factors at the immunoglobulin heavy chain constant locus on chromosome 14 and the major histocompatibility complex region on intrathecal immunoglobulin G, A, and M levels as well as on B cells and plasmablasts in the CSF and blood of patients with multiple sclerosis (MS).

Methods: Using regression analyses, we tested genetic variants on chromosome 14 and imputed human leukocyte antigen (HLA) alleles for associations with intrathecal immunoglobulins in 1,279 patients with MS or clinically isolated syndrome and with blood and CSF B cells and plasmablasts in 301 and 348 patients, respectively.

Results: The minor alleles of variants on chromosome 14 were associated with higher intrathecal immunoglobulin G levels (β = 0.58 [0.47 to 0.68], lowest adjusted = 2.32 × 10), and lower intrathecal immunoglobulin M (β = -0.56 [-0.67 to -0.46], = 2.06 × 10) and A (β = -0.42 [-0.54 to -0.31], = 7.48 × 10) levels. Alleles from the HLA-B*07:02-DRB1*15:01-DQA1*01:02-DQB1*06:02 haplotype were associated with higher (lowest = 2.14 × 10) and HLA-B*44:02 with lower (β = -0.35 [-0.54 to -0.17], = 1.38 × 10) immunoglobulin G levels. Of interest, different HLA alleles were associated with lower intrathecal immunoglobulin M (HLA-C*02:02, β = -0.45 [-0.61 to -0.28], = 1.01 × 10) and higher immunoglobulin A levels (HLA-DQA1*01:03-DQB1*06:03-DRB1*13:01 haplotype, β = 0.40 [0.21 to 0.60], = 4.46 × 10). The impact of HLA alleles on intrathecal immunoglobulin G and M levels could mostly be explained by associations with CSF B cells and plasmablasts.

Conclusion: Although some HLA alleles seem to primarily drive the extent of humoral immune responses in the CNS by increasing CSF B cells and plasmablasts, genetic variants at the immunoglobulin heavy chain constant locus might regulate intrathecal immunoglobulins levels via different mechanisms.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1212/NXI.0000000000000827DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7371373PMC
September 2020

Aggressive multiple sclerosis (1): Towards a definition of the phenotype.

Mult Scler 2020 06 12:1352458520925369. Epub 2020 Jun 12.

Department of Clinical Neuroscience, Division of Neurology, Karolinska Institute and Karolinska University Hospital, Stockholm, Sweden.

While the major phenotypes of multiple sclerosis (MS) and relapsing-remitting, primary and secondary progressive MS have been well characterized, a subgroup of patients with an active, aggressive disease course and rapid disability accumulation remains difficult to define and there is no consensus about their management and treatment. The current lack of an accepted definition and treatment guidelines for aggressive MS triggered a 2018 focused workshop of the European Committee for Treatment and Research in Multiple Sclerosis (ECTRIMS) on aggressive MS. The aim of the workshop was to discuss approaches on how to describe and define the disease phenotype and its treatments. Unfortunately, it was not possible to come to consensus on a definition because of unavailable data correlating severe disease with imaging and molecular biomarkers. However, the workshop highlighted the need for future research needed to define this disease subtype while also focusing on its treatment and management. Here, we review previous attempts to define aggressive MS and present characteristics that might, with additional research, eventually help characterize it. A companion paper summarizes data regarding treatment and management.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1177/1352458520925369DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7412876PMC
June 2020

Aggressive multiple sclerosis (2): Treatment.

Mult Scler 2020 06 12:1352458520924595. Epub 2020 Jun 12.

Servei de Neurologia-Neuroimmunologia, Centre d'Esclerosi Múltiple de Catalunya (Cemcat), Vall d'Hebron Institut de Recerca, Hospital Universitari Vall d'Hebron, Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona, Barcelona, Spain.

The natural history of multiple sclerosis (MS) is highly heterogeneous. A subgroup of patients has what might be termed aggressive MS. These patients may have frequent, severe relapses with incomplete recovery and are at risk of developing greater and permanent disability at the earlier stages of the disease. Their therapeutic window of opportunity may be narrow, and while it is generally considered that they will benefit from starting early with a highly efficacious treatment, a unified definition of aggressive MS does not exist and data on its treatment are largely lacking. Based on discussions at an international focused workshop sponsored by the European Committee for Treatment and Research in Multiple Sclerosis (ECTRIMS), we review our current knowledge about treatment of individuals with aggressive MS. We analyse the available evidence, identify gaps in knowledge and suggest future research needed to fill those gaps. A companion paper details the difficulties in developing a consensus about what defines aggressive MS.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1177/1352458520924595DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7412878PMC
June 2020

Clinical implications of serum neurofilament in newly diagnosed MS patients: A longitudinal multicentre cohort study.

EBioMedicine 2020 Jun 24;56:102807. Epub 2020 May 24.

Department of Neurology, St. Josef-Hospital, Ruhr-University Bochum, Bochum, Germany.

Background: We aim to evaluate serum neurofilament light chain (sNfL), indicating neuroaxonal damage, as a biomarker at diagnosis in a large cohort of early multiple sclerosis (MS) patients.

Methods: In a multicentre prospective longitudinal observational cohort, patients with newly diagnosed relapsing-remitting MS (RRMS) or clinically isolated syndrome (CIS) were recruited between August 2010 and November 2015 in 22 centers. Clinical parameters, MRI, and sNfL levels (measured by single molecule array) were assessed at baseline and up to four-year follow-up.

Findings: Of 814 patients, 54.7% (445) were diagnosed with RRMS and 45.3% (369) with CIS when applying 2010 McDonald criteria (RRMS[2010] and CIS[2010]). After reclassification of CIS[2010] patients with existing CSF analysis, according to 2017 criteria, sNfL levels were lower in CIS[2017] than RRMS[2017] patients (9.1 pg/ml, IQR 6.2-13.7 pg/ml, n = 45; 10.8 pg/ml, IQR 7.4-20.1 pg/ml, n = 213; p = 0.036). sNfL levels correlated with number of T2 and Gd+ lesions at baseline and future clinical relapses. Patients receiving disease-modifying therapy (DMT) during the first four years had higher baseline sNfL levels than DMT-naïve patients (11.8 pg/ml, IQR 7.5-20.7 pg/ml, n = 726; 9.7 pg/ml, IQR 6.4-15.3 pg/ml, n = 88). Therapy escalation decisions within this period were reflected by longitudinal changes in sNfL levels.

Interpretation: Assessment of sNfL increases diagnostic accuracy, is associated with disease course prognosis and may, particularly when measured longitudinally, facilitate therapeutic decisions.

Funding: Supported the German Federal Ministry for Education and Research, the German Research Council, and Hertie-Stiftung.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.ebiom.2020.102807DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7251380PMC
June 2020

Complete Epstein-Barr virus seropositivity in a large cohort of patients with early multiple sclerosis.

J Neurol Neurosurg Psychiatry 2020 07 5;91(7):681-686. Epub 2020 May 5.

Department of Neurology, Charité - Universitätsmedizin Berlin, Berlin, Germany

Objective: To determine the prevalence of antibodies to Epstein-Barr virus (EBV) in a large cohort of patients with early multiple sclerosis (MS).

Methods: Serum samples were collected from 901 patients with a clinically isolated syndrome (CIS) or early relapsing-remitting multiple sclerosis (RRMS) participating in the German National MS cohort, a prospective cohort of patients with early MS with stringent inclusion criteria. Epstein-Barr nuclear antigen (EBNA)-1 and viral capsid antigen (VCA) antibodies were measured in diluted sera by chemiluminescence immunoassays (CLIAs). Sera of EBNA-1 and VCA antibody-negative patients were retested undiluted by an EBV IgG immunoblot. For comparison, we retrospectively analysed the EBV seroprevalence across different age cohorts, ranging from 0 to >80 years, in a large hospital population (N=16 163) from Berlin/Northern Germany.

Results: EBNA-1 antibodies were detected by CLIA in 839 of 901 patients with CIS/RRMS. Of the 62 patients without EBNA-1 antibodies, 45 had antibodies to VCA as detected by CLIA. In all of the remaining 17 patients, antibodies to EBV were detected by immunoblot. Altogether, 901 of 901 (100%) patients with CIS/RRMS were EBV-seropositive. EBV seropositivity increased with age in the hospital population but did not reach 100% in any of the investigated age cohorts.

Conclusion: The complete EBV seropositivity in this large cohort of patients with early MS strengthens the evidence for a role of EBV in MS. It also suggests that a negative EBV serology in patients with suspected inflammatory central nervous system disease should alert clinicians to consider diagnoses other than MS.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1136/jnnp-2020-322941DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7361012PMC
July 2020

Is ε4 associated with cognitive performance in early MS?

Neurol Neuroimmunol Neuroinflamm 2020 07 1;7(4). Epub 2020 May 1.

From the Department of Neurology and Focus Program Translational Neuroscience (FTN) (S.E., C.G., M.M., S.B., S.G., F.Z., C.M.L., F.L.), Rhine Main Neuroscience Network (rmn2), University Medical Center of the Johannes Gutenberg University Mainz, Germany; Department of Neurology (A.S.), Inselspital, Bern University Hospital, University of Bern, Switzerland; Department of Neurology (A.S., B.A., R.G.), St. Josef-Hospital, Ruhr-University Bochum; Institute of Medical Biostatistics (G.T.), Epidemiology and Informatics (IMBEI), University Medical Center of the Johannes Gutenberg University Mainz; Department of Neurology (A. Bayas), Klinikum Augsburg; Department of Neurology (A. Berthele, B.H.), Klinikum rechts der Isar, Technical University of Munich; Institut für Neuroimmunologie und Multiple Sklerose (C.H.), Universitätsklinikum Hamburg-Eppendorf; Clinic of Neurology (L.K., S.G.M., H.W.), University Hospital Münster, Westphalian-Wilhelms-University Münster; Institute of Clinical Neuroimmunology (T.K.), Ludwig Maximilian University of Munich; Department of Neurology (R.A.L.), University Hospital Erlangen; NeuroCure Clinical Research Center and Experimental and Clinical Research Center (F.P.), Charité - Universitätsmedizin Berlin and Max Delbrueck Center for Molecular Medicine; Department of Neurology (M.S.), Hannover Medical School; Department of Neurology (B.T.), Philipps-University Marburg; Department of Neurology (F.T.B.), University of Leipzig; Department of Neurology (H.T.), University of Ulm; Clinic of Neurology Dietenbronn (H.T.), Schwendi; Neurology (F.W.), Max-Planck-Institute of Psychiatry, Munich; Neurological Clinic (F.W.), Sana Kliniken des Landkreises Cham; Department of Neurology (B.W.), University of Heidelberg; Department. of Neurology (U.K.Z.), University of Rostock; Central Information Office (CIO) (G.A.), Philipps-University Marburg; and Genetic and Molecular Epidemiology Group (C.M.L.), Lübeck Interdisciplinary Platform for Genome Analytics, Institutes of Neurogenetics and Cardiogenetics, University of Lübeck, Germany.

Objective: To assess the impact of polymorphisms on cognitive performance in patients newly diagnosed with clinically isolated syndrome (CIS) or relapsing-remitting MS (RRMS).

Methods: This multicenter cohort study included 552 untreated patients recently diagnosed with CIS or RRMS according to the 2005 revised McDonald criteria. The single nucleotide polymorphisms rs429358 (ε4) and rs7412 (ε2) of the haplotype were assessed by allelic discrimination assays Cognitive performance was evaluated using the 3-second paced auditory serial addition test and the Multiple Sclerosis Inventory Cognition (MUSIC). Sum scores were calculated to approximate the overall cognitive performance and memory-centered cognitive functions. The impact of the carrier status on cognitive performance was assessed using multiple linear regression models, also including demographic, clinical, MRI, and lifestyle factors.

Results: ε4 homozygosity was associated with lower overall cognitive performance, whereas no relevant association was observed for ε4 heterozygosity or ε2 carrier status. Furthermore, higher disability levels, MRI lesion load, and depressive symptoms were associated with lower cognitive performance. Patients consuming alcohol had higher test scores than patients not consuming alcohol. Female sex, lower disability, and alcohol consumption were associated with better performance in the memory-centered subtests of MUSIC, whereas no relevant association was observed for carrier status.

Conclusion: Along with parameters of a higher disease burden, ε4 homozygosity was identified as a potential predictor of cognitive performance in this large cohort of patients with CIS and early RRMS.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1212/NXI.0000000000000728DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7217661PMC
July 2020
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