Publications by authors named "Björn Tackenberg"

72 Publications

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

Ocrelizumab Treatment in Patients with Primary Progressive Multiple Sclerosis: Short-term Safety Results from a Compassionate Use Programme in Germany.

Clin Neurol Neurosurg 2020 10 12;197:106142. Epub 2020 Aug 12.

Klinik für Neurologie, Medizinische Fakultät, Universitätsklinikum Düsseldorf, Düsseldorf, Germany. Electronic address:

Objectives: In January 2018, the European Union (EU) approved ocrelizumab in relapsing multiple sclerosis (RMS) and as the first disease-modifying therapy (DMT) for patients with primary progressive multiple sclerosis (PPMS) with efficacy proven in a phase 3 randomised controlled trial. Eleven months prior to the European regulatory approval, a compassionate use programme (CUP) made ocrelizumab available to 489 patients with PPMS in Germany, thereby for the first time providing a therapeutic option to patients with PPMS who could not participate in ocrelizumab studies. Here, we report real-world patient characteristics and short-term safety data of patients with PPMS treated with ocrelizumab in this CUP.

Patients And Methods: This CUP was initiated in February 2017 - shortly before US Food and Drug administration approval in March 2017 - and ended in January 2018, following ocrelizumab approval in the EU. Adult patients (age ≥18 years) with PPMS who had a positive benefit/risk ratio according to the treating physician were eligible for inclusion at German treatment centres. The main exclusion criteria were current/recent treatment with other immune therapies and unresolved/chronic/active infections. Patients received methylprednisolone and an antihistamine before treatment with intravenous ocrelizumab in 6-month cycles. The first ocrelizumab dose was a 300 mg infusion followed by a second 300 mg infusion 2 weeks later; subsequent doses were delivered as a single 600 mg infusion. Adverse events were reported immediately.

Results: Of 580 requests received from 104 centres, 525 patients met the eligibility criteria. Thirty-five patients did not participate due to withdrawal by the treating physician, and one due to death prior to treatment. A total of 489 patients received at least one 600 mg dose of ocrelizumab (administered as two 300 mg infusions) and 51 received a second dose. Due to termination of the CUP upon marketing authorisation, the maximum follow-up period was 12 months. Median patient age was 52 years (range: 24-73), and 49% were female. Previous immunomodulatory or immunosuppressive therapies had been received by 41% of patients, with the most commonly used being glucocorticoids, mitoxantrone, interferon-β and glatiramer acetate. Patients with a previous malignancy, serious disease or infection (42 patients, 9%) had recovered from this prior to the CUP. Nine serious adverse events and 70 non-serious adverse events were reported in 40 patients. Adverse event categories were generally consistent with the known safety profile of ocrelizumab; one patient had carry-over progressive multifocal leukoencephalopathy (PML) due to previous natalizumab treatment.

Conclusion: This CUP provides first real-world observations of ocrelizumab for the treatment of PPMS in a large patient cohort in Germany, supporting that ocrelizumab is generally well-tolerated in clinical practice. Physicians should be vigilant for early symptoms of PML, as to date, 9 PML cases that were all confounded have been reported in patients treated with ocrelizumab worldwide, with 8 carry-over cases from a prior DMT.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.clineuro.2020.106142DOI Listing
October 2020

Harnessing Real-World Data to Inform Decision-Making: Multiple Sclerosis Partners Advancing Technology and Health Solutions (MS PATHS).

Front Neurol 2020 7;11:632. Epub 2020 Aug 7.

Biogen, Cambridge, MA, United States.

Multiple Sclerosis Partners Advancing Technology and Health Solutions (MS PATHS) is the first example of a learning health system in multiple sclerosis (MS). This paper describes the initial implementation of MS PATHS and initial patient characteristics. MS PATHS is an ongoing initiative conducted in 10 healthcare institutions in three countries, each contributing standardized information acquired during routine care. Institutional participation required the following: active MS patient census of ≥500, at least one Siemens 3T magnetic resonance imaging scanner, and willingness to standardize patient assessments, share standardized data for research, and offer universal enrolment to capture a representative sample. The eligible participants have diagnosis of MS, including clinically isolated syndrome, and consent for sharing pseudonymized data for research. MS PATHS incorporates a self-administered patient assessment tool, the Multiple Sclerosis Performance Test, to collect a structured history, patient-reported outcomes, and quantitative testing of cognition, vision, dexterity, and walking speed. Brain magnetic resonance imaging is acquired using standardized acquisition sequences on Siemens 3T scanners. Quantitative measures of brain volume and lesion load are obtained. Using a separate consent, the patients contribute DNA, RNA, and serum for future research. The clinicians retain complete autonomy in using MS PATHS data in patient care. A shared governance model ensures transparent data and sample access for research. As of August 5, 2019, MS PATHS enrolment included participants ( = 16,568) with broad ranges of disease subtypes, duration, and severity. Overall, 14,643 (88.4%) participants contributed data at one or more time points. The average patient contributed 15.6 person-months of follow-up (95% CI: 15.5-15.8); overall, 166,158 person-months of follow-up have been accumulated. Those with relapsing-remitting MS demonstrated more demographic heterogeneity than the participants in six randomized phase 3 MS treatment trials. Across sites, a significant variation was observed in the follow-up frequency and the patterns of disease-modifying therapy use. Through digital health technology, it is feasible to collect standardized, quantitative, and interpretable data from each patient in busy MS practices, facilitating the merger of research and patient care. This approach holds promise for data-driven clinical decisions and accelerated systematic learning.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.3389/fneur.2020.00632DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7426489PMC
August 2020

Alternative splicing of the TNFSF13B (BAFF) pre-mRNA and expression of the BAFFX1 isoform in human immune cells.

Gene 2020 Nov 4;760:145021. Epub 2020 Aug 4.

Department of Neurology, Philipps-University Marburg, Marburg, Germany; F. Hoffmann-La Roche Ltd, Basel, Switzerland. Electronic address:

Human B cell activating factor (TNFSF13B, BAFF) is a tumor necrosis factor superfamily member. Binding its unique receptor (TNFRSF13C, BAFF-R) mediates gene expression and cell survival in B cells via activation of NFκB pathway. Furthermore, there is data indicating a role in T cell function. A functionally inhibitory isoform (ΔBAFF) resulting from the deletion of exon 3 in the TNFSF13B pre-RNA has already been reported. However, data on the complexity of post-transcriptional regulation is scarce. Here, we report molecular cloning of nine TNFSF13B transcript variants resulting from alternative splicing of the TNFSF13B pre-mRNA including BAFFX1. This variant is characterized by a partial retention of intron 3 of the TNFSF13B gene causing the appearance of a premature stop codon. We demonstrate the expression of the corresponding BAFFX1 protein in Jurkat T cells, in ex vivo human immune cells and in human tonsillar tissue. Thereby we contribute to the understanding of TNFSF13B gene regulation and reveal that BAFF is regulated through a post-transcriptional mechanism to a greater extent than reported to date.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.gene.2020.145021DOI Listing
November 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

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

Epidemiology, characteristics and treatment of patients with relapsing remitting multiple sclerosis and incidence of high disease activity: Real world evidence based on German claims data.

PLoS One 2020 1;15(5):e0231846. Epub 2020 May 1.

Clinical Neuroimmunology and Neurochemistry, Dept. of Neurology, Hannover Medical School, Hannover, Germany.

Background: Multiple Sclerosis (MS) is a chronic inflammatory, immune mediated disease of the central nervous system, with Relapsing Remitting MS (RRMS) being the most common type. Within the last years, the status of high disease activity (HDA) has become increasingly important for clinical decisions. Nevertheless, little is known about the incidence, the characteristics, and the current treatment of patients with RRMS and HDA in Germany. Therefore, this study aims to estimate the incidence of HDA in a German RRMS patient population, to characterize this population and to describe current drug treatment routines and further healthcare utilization of these patients.

Methods: A claims data analyses has been conducted, using a sample of the InGef Research Database that comprises data of approximately four million insured persons from around 70 German statutory health insurances (SHI). The study was conducted in a retrospective cohort design, including the years 2012-2016. Identification of RRMS population based on ICD-10 code (ICD-10-GM: G35.1). For identification of HDA, criteria from other studies as well as expert opinions have been used. Information on incidence, characteristics and current treatment of patients with RRMS and HDA was considered.

Results: The overall HDA incidence within the RRMS population was 8.5% for 2016. It was highest for the age group of 0-19 years (29.4% women, 33.3% men) and lowest for the age group of ≥ 50 years (4.3% women, 5.6% men). Mean age of patients with RRMS and incident HDA was 38.4 years (SD: 11.8) and women accounted for 67.8%. Analyses of drug utilization showed that 82.4% received at least one disease-modifying drug (DMD) in 2016. A percentage of 49.8% of patients received drugs for relapse therapy. A share of 55% of RRMS patients with HDA had at least one hospitalization with a mean length of stay of 13.9 days (SD: 18.3 days) in 2016. The average number of outpatient physician contacts was 28.1 (SD: 14.0).

Conclusions: This study based on representative Germany-wide claims data from the SHI showed a high incidence of HDA especially within the young RRMS population. Future research should consider HDA as an important criterion for the quality of care for MS patients.
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http://journals.plos.org/plosone/article?id=10.1371/journal.pone.0231846PLOS
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7194363PMC
July 2020

Longitudinal prevalence and determinants of pain in multiple sclerosis: results from the German National Multiple Sclerosis Cohort study.

Pain 2020 04;161(4):787-796

Department of Neurology, Technical University of Munich (TUM), School of Medicine, Munich, Germany.

Pain is frequent in multiple sclerosis (MS) and includes different types, with neuropathic pain (NP) being most closely related to MS pathology. However, prevalence estimates vary largely, and causal relationships between pain and biopsychosocial factors in MS are largely unknown. Longitudinal studies might help to clarify the prevalence and determinants of pain in MS. To this end, we analyzed data from 410 patients with newly diagnosed clinically isolated syndrome or relapsing-remitting MS participating in the prospective multicenter German National MS Cohort Study (NationMS) at baseline and after 4 years. Pain was assessed by self-report using the PainDETECT Questionnaire. Neuropsychiatric assessment included tests for fatigue, depression, and cognition. In addition, sociodemographic and clinical data were obtained. Prevalence of pain of any type was 40% and 36% at baseline and after 4 years, respectively, whereas prevalence of NP was 2% and 5%. Pain of any type and NP were both strongly linked to fatigue, depression, and disability. This link was even stronger after 4 years than at baseline. Moreover, changes in pain, depression, and fatigue were highly correlated without any of these symptoms preceding the others. Taken together, pain of any type seems to be much more frequent than NP in early nonprogressive MS. Moreover, the close relationship between pain, fatigue, and depression in MS should be considered for treatment decisions and future research on a possible common pathophysiology.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1097/j.pain.0000000000001767DOI Listing
April 2020

Long-term real-world evidence for sustained clinical benefits of fingolimod following switch from natalizumab.

Mult Scler Relat Disord 2019 Dec 13;39:101893. Epub 2019 Dec 13.

Novartis Pharma GmbH, Nuremberg, Germany. Electronic address:

Background: The risk of progressive multifocal leukoencephalopathy limits the duration over which patients can receive natalizumab before requiring a switch to other therapies such as fingolimod. To date, no studies have assessed the long-term real-world effectiveness and safety of fingolimod following a switch from natalizumab. We aimed to investigate the benefit-risk profile of fingolimod over 48 months in patients switching from natalizumab, and the impact of washout duration after natalizumab discontinuation on outcomes during fingolimod treatment.

Methods: This analysis used data from PANGAEA, an ongoing German multicenter, prospective, non-interventional, observational study. In total, 3912 patients were included: 530 had switched from natalizumab (natalizumab subpopulation), and a reference population of 3382 had switched from other treatments or were treatment-naïve (non-natalizumab subpopulation). The natalizumab subpopulation was stratified by washout duration (30-89 days, 90-149 days, and ≥ 150 days) prior to fingolimod initiation.

Results: In the natalizumab subpopulation over 48 months of fingolimod treatment, 58.2% (n = 227/390) of patients remained on fingolimod. Over this period, mean annualized relapse rates (ARRs) and proportions of patients who relapsed were similar across washout durations, and ranged from 0.455 (95% confidence interval [CI]: 0.363-0.571) to 0.546 (95% CI: 0.446-0.669) and 54.1% (n = 92/170) to 60.2% (n = 127/211), respectively. Overall, 17.1% (n = 36/211) had 6-month confirmed disability worsening. In the non-natalizumab subpopulation, ARR was 0.300, 40.9% (n = 1325/3237) of patients relapsed, and a similar proportion to the natalizumab subpopulation had 6-month disability worsening (16.6% [n = 232/1394]). In both subpopulations, the safety profile of fingolimod was consistent with that observed in randomized controlled trials.

Conclusions: In patients discontinuing natalizumab, fingolimod has a favorable benefit-risk profile over 48 months. These findings also suggest using a short washout following natalizumab discontinuation, consistent with guidelines and current clinical practice in Germany.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.msard.2019.101893DOI Listing
December 2019

IL-17 CD8 T cell suppression by dimethyl fumarate associates with clinical response in multiple sclerosis.

Nat Commun 2019 12 16;10(1):5722. Epub 2019 Dec 16.

Institute for Medical Microbiology and Hospital Hygiene, University of Marburg, 35043, Marburg, Germany.

IL-17-producing CD8 (Tc17) cells are enriched in active lesions of patients with multiple sclerosis (MS), suggesting a role in the pathogenesis of autoimmunity. Here we show that amelioration of MS by dimethyl fumarate (DMF), a mechanistically elusive drug, associates with suppression of Tc17 cells. DMF treatment results in reduced frequency of Tc17, contrary to Th17 cells, and in a decreased ratio of the regulators RORC-to-TBX21, along with a shift towards cytotoxic T lymphocyte gene expression signature in CD8 T cells from MS patients. Mechanistically, DMF potentiates the PI3K-AKT-FOXO1-T-BET pathway, thereby limiting IL-17 and RORγt expression as well as STAT5-signaling in a glutathione-dependent manner. This results in chromatin remodeling at the Il17 locus. Consequently, T-BET-deficiency in mice or inhibition of PI3K-AKT, STAT5 or reactive oxygen species prevents DMF-mediated Tc17 suppression. Overall, our data disclose a DMF-AKT-T-BET driven immune modulation and suggest putative therapy targets in MS and beyond.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1038/s41467-019-13731-zDOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6915776PMC
December 2019

[Diagnostics and treatment of tuberculosis under immunotherapy for multiple sclerosis : Current status and recommendations in Germany].

Nervenarzt 2019 Dec;90(12):1245-1253

Klinik für Neurologie, Forschungszentrum Translationale Neurowissenschaften (FTN), Forschungszentrum für Immuntherapie (FZI), Rhine Main Neuroscience Network (rmn2), Universitätsmedizin der Johannes Gutenberg-Universität Mainz, Langenbeckstr. 1, 55131, Mainz, Deutschland.

After years of low incidence, a large increase of new tuberculosis (TB) cases has been reported in Germany since 2015. New immunotherapies for the treatment of multiple sclerosis (MS) are associated with a reduced immune competence and a potential increased risk for infections. Most neurologists lack specific experiences with TB infections. This article summarizes specific recommendations for the diagnostics and treatment of TB under MS immunotherapies with a focus on the situation in Germany. Due to low case numbers and little experience with the risk of TB under the new immunotherapies, the clinical competence network for MS (KKNMS) consensus recommendations have a low grade of evidence.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/s00115-019-0760-0DOI Listing
December 2019

Thymoma-Associated Paraneoplastic Autoimmune Multiorgan Syndrome-From Pemphigus to Lichenoid Dermatitis.

Front Immunol 2019 21;10:1413. Epub 2019 Jun 21.

Department of Dermatology and Allergology, Philipps-University, Marburg, Germany.

Paraneoplastic autoimmune multi-organ syndrome (PAMS) is a rare clinical condition characterized by variable and heterogeneous clinical phenotypes in the presence of neoplasias which largely depend on the activation of humoral and cellular immune responses. Clinically, these patients present with a spectrum of antibody-driven pemphigus-like lesions to graft-vs.-host-disease-like exanthemas with a lichenoid inflammatory infiltrate in the skin. PAMS is occasionally associated with thymoma, in which altered immune surveillance eventually leads to multiorgan autoimmunity which often includes variable cutaneous symptoms. This disorder is associated with a profound disturbance of peripheral immune tolerance against human autoantigens. We here present a patient with relapsing thymoma who developed PAMS with several cutaneous and extracutaneous autoimmune disorders. Peripheral blood mononuclear cells (PBMC), sera, and lesional skin biopsies were obtained at different clinical disease stages. Peripheral T cell subsets were characterized phenotypically and the cytokine profile of the peripheral blood T cellular response against distinct epidermal and dermal autoantigens of the skin was analyzed by ELISpot assay. Serological screening was performed by ELISA and immunoblot analysis. Skin biopsies were subjected to immunohistochemical analysis of distinct T cell subsets. Thymoma tissue was analyzed for the presence of T regulatory cells and compared with adult thymus and indolent thymoma. In the present case, thymoma was the cause of the observed multi-organ autoimmune syndromes as its recurrence and surgical removal was associated with the relapse and regression of the cutaneous symptoms, respectively. Initially, the patient presented with two autoimmune disorders with Th2/Th1 imbalance, myasthenia gravis (MG) and pemphigus foliaceus (PF), which regressed upon immunosuppressive treatment. Months later, the patient developed a lichenoid exanthema with a Th1-dominated skin infiltrate. Further clinical evaluation revealed the recurrence of the thymoma and the lichenoid exanthema gradually regressed upon thymectomy. Our contention that T cell recognition against distinct cutaneous autoantigens, such as desmoglein 1 (Dsg1), shifted from a Th2 to a Th1-dominated immune response could not be fully substantiated as the patient was on a stringent immunosuppressive treatment regimen. We could only observe a decrease of the initially present serum IgG autoantibodies against Dsg1. Phenotypic analysis of the associated thymoma showed a lower number of T regulatory cells compared to adult thymus and indolent thymoma, suggesting that impaired thymus-derived immune surveillance had a direct impact on the outcome of the observed cutaneous autoimmune disorders.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.3389/fimmu.2019.01413DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6598597PMC
October 2020

Association of Intrathecal Immunoglobulin G Synthesis With Disability Worsening in Multiple Sclerosis.

JAMA Neurol 2019 07;76(7):841-849

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

Importance: Reliable biomarkers associated with disability worsening in multiple sclerosis (MS) are still needed.

Objective: To determine a possible association of intrathecal IgG synthesis and early disability worsening as measured by Expanded Disability Status Scale (EDSS) scoring in patients with relapsing-remitting MS or clinically isolated syndrome.

Design, Setting, And Participants: Cerebrospinal fluid measurements and clinical data from the observational longitudinal German national multiple sclerosis cohort were analyzed. Patients were recruited between August 2010 and November 2015 from 18 centers. Data analysis was completed from August 2018 to December 2018.

Exposure: Patients were offered standard immunotherapies per national treatment guidelines.

Main Outcomes And Measures: A possible association between intrathecal IgG synthesis and risk of EDSS worsening 4 years after study inclusion was tested as the primary end point by multivariable binomial regression analysis. Kaplan-Meier analysis with a log-rank test was used to assess the association of intrathecal IgG synthesis with the time to EDSS worsening. Associations between intrathecal IgM or IgA synthesis and other cerebrospinal fluid parameters and EDSS worsening were analyzed as exploratory end points. Data collection began before the hypotheses were formulated.

Results: Of all 1376 patients in the German Competence Network of Multiple Sclerosis cohort, 703 patients were excluded owing to missing cerebrospinal fluid or EDSS data. Of the 673 included patients, 459 (68.2%) were women. The mean (SD) age at baseline was 34 (10) years. Intrathecal IgG synthesis was associated with a higher risk of EDSS worsening after 4 years (odds ratio, 2.02 [95% CI, 1.15-3.58]; P = .01), independent of the occurrence of relapses and disease-modifying therapy. Additionally, intrathecal IgG synthesis was associated with earlier EDSS worsening; 4 years after study entry, worsening occurred in 28.4% (95% CI, 22.7%-34.1%) and 18.1% (95% CI, 12.4%-23.9%) of patients with and without intrathecal IgG synthesis, respectively. No association of other routine cerebrospinal fluid parameters with EDSS worsening was found.

Conclusions And Relevance: Patients with new diagnoses of relapsing-remitting multiple sclerosis or clinically isolated syndrome with intrathecal IgG synthesis had a higher risk of and shorter time to EDSS worsening across a 4-year period of follow-up. Intrathecal IgG synthesis is a potentially useful marker for disability worsening in patients with multiple sclerosis and may be useful for early treatment decisions.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1001/jamaneurol.2019.0905DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6583696PMC
July 2019

Real-world persistence and benefit-risk profile of fingolimod over 36 months in Germany.

Neurol Neuroimmunol Neuroinflamm 2019 05 7;6(3):e548. Epub 2019 Mar 7.

Center of Clinical Neuroscience (T.Z.), Neurological University Clinic Carl Gustav Carus, University of Technology, Dresden; NeuroPoint Patient Academy and Neurological Practice (M.L.), Ulm; Department of Neurology (B.T.), Center of Neuroimmunology, Philipps-University, Marburg; Bonn Neurological Practice (S.S.); Neurological Practice (H.A.), Munich; Department of Neurology (L.K.), University Hospital Münster, Münster; Centre for Multiple Sclerosis (J.H.), Jewish Hospital Berlin; Kassel and Vellmar Neurology Practice (C.L.), Vellmar, Germany; Oxford PharmaGenesis (C.A-M.C.); Oxford PharmaGenesis (J.A.F.), United Kingdom; and Novartis Pharma GmbH (C.C.), Nuremberg, Germany.

Objective: To assess the long-term real-world benefit-risk profile of fingolimod in patients with relapsing MS in Germany.

Methods: This analysis used data from the noninterventional real-world study, Post-Authorization Non-interventional German sAfety study of GilEnyA (PANGAEA), to assess prospectively the persistence, effectiveness, and safety of fingolimod over 36 months (±90 days) in Germany. For inclusion in the effectiveness analysis (n = 2,537), patients were required to have received fingolimod for the first time in PANGAEA, to have at least 12 months of data, and to have completed each 12-month follow-up period. For the safety analysis (n = 3,266), patients were additionally allowed to have received fingolimod before enrollment.

Results: At baseline, 94.7% of patients in the effectiveness analysis had received a previous disease-modifying therapy. After 36 months, 70.4% of patients were still receiving fingolimod. Over this period, annualized relapse rates decreased to 0.265 (95% CI: 0.244-0.286) from 1.79 (95% CI: 1.75-1.83), and mean Expanded Disability Status Scale scores remained stable (mean change from baseline: +0.049 [95% CI: -0.015 to +0.114]). In total, 16% of patients had 6-month confirmed disability improvement, 12.5% had 6-month confirmed disability worsening, and 52.4% were free from relapses and 6-month confirmed disability worsening. Adverse events (AEs) and serious AEs were experienced by up to 23.4% and 3.9% of patients, respectively, during any of the 12-month follow-up periods. The frequency and nature of AEs were in line with previous findings.

Conclusions: Using systematically collected data from PANGAEA, this analysis demonstrates the sustained effectiveness, high persistence, and manageable safety profile of fingolimod over 36 months.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1212/NXI.0000000000000548DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6410931PMC
May 2019

Efficacy and safety of IVIG in CIDP: Combined data of the PRIMA and PATH studies.

J Peripher Nerv Syst 2019 03 15;24(1):48-55. Epub 2019 Feb 15.

CSL Behring, Marburg, Germany, and King of Prussia, Pennsylvania.

Intravenous immunoglobulin (IVIG) is a potential therapy for chronic inflammatory demyelinating polyneuropathy (CIDP). To investigate the efficacy and safety of the IVIG IgPro10 (Privigen) for treatment of CIDP, results from Privigen Impact on Mobility and Autonomy (PRIMA), a prospective, open-label, single-arm study of IVIG in immunoglobulin (Ig)-naïve or IVIG pre-treated subjects (NCT01184846, n = 28) and Polyneuropathy And Treatment with Hizentra (PATH), a double-blind, randomized study including an open-label, single-arm IVIG phase in IVIG pre-treated subjects (NCT01545076, IVIG restabilization phase n = 207) were analyzed separately and together (n = 235). Efficacy assessments included change in adjusted inflammatory neuropathy cause and treatment (INCAT) score, grip strength and Medical Research Council (MRC) sum score. Adverse drug reactions (ADRs) and ADRs/infusion were recorded. Adjusted INCAT response rate was 60.7% in all PRIMA subjects at Week 25 (76.9% in IVIG pre-treated subjects) and 72.9% in PATH. In the pooled cohort (n = 235), INCAT response rate was 71.5%; median time to INCAT improvement was 4.3 weeks. No clear demographic differences were noticed between early (responding before Week 7, n = 148) and late responders (n = 21). In the pooled cohort, median change from baseline to last observation was -1.0 (interquartile range -2.0; 0.0) point for INCAT score; +8.0 (0.0; 20.0) kPa for maximum grip strength; +3.0 (1.0; 7.0) points for MRC sum score. In the pooled cohort, 271 ADRs were reported in 105 subjects (44.7%), a rate of 0.144 ADRs per infusion. This analysis confirms the efficacy and safety of IgPro10, a recently FDA-approved IVIG for CIDP, in a population of mainly pre-treated subjects with CIDP [Correction added on 14 March 2019 after first online publication: the INCAT response rate has been corrected.].
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/jns.12302DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6594229PMC
March 2019

Reply.

Muscle Nerve 2019 03 29;59(3):E23. Epub 2019 Jan 29.

Center for Neuroimmunology, Philipps-University of Marburg, Marburg, Germany.

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http://dx.doi.org/10.1002/mus.26406DOI Listing
March 2019

Can we predict cognitive decline after initial diagnosis of multiple sclerosis? Results from the German National early MS cohort (KKNMS).

J Neurol 2019 Feb 4;266(2):386-397. Epub 2018 Dec 4.

Department of Neurology, University Hospital Münster, Westfälische-Wilhelms-University Münster, Münster, Germany.

Background: Cognitive impairment (CI) affects approximately one-third of the patients with early multiple sclerosis (MS) and clinically isolated syndrome (CIS). Little is known about factors predicting CI and progression after initial diagnosis.

Methods: Neuropsychological screening data from baseline and 1-year follow-up of a prospective multicenter cohort study (NationMS) involving 1123 patients with newly diagnosed MS or CIS were analyzed. Employing linear multilevel models, we investigated whether demographic, clinical and conventional MRI markers at baseline were predictive for CI and longitudinal cognitive changes.

Results: At baseline, 22% of patients had CI (impairment in ≥2 cognitive domains) with highest frequencies and severity in processing speed and executive functions. Demographics (fewer years of academic education, higher age, male sex), clinical (EDSS, depressive symptoms) but no conventional MRI characteristics were linked to baseline CI. At follow-up, only 14% of patients showed CI suggesting effects of retesting. Neither baseline characteristics nor initiation of treatment between baseline and follow-up was able to predict cognitive changes within the follow-up period of 1 year.

Conclusions: Identification of risk factors for short-term cognitive change in newly diagnosed MS or CIS is insufficient using only demographic, clinical and conventional MRI data. Change-sensitive, re-test reliable cognitive tests and more sophisticated predictors need to be employed in future clinical trials and cohort studies of early-stage MS to improve prediction.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/s00415-018-9142-yDOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6373354PMC
February 2019

Efficacy and safety of alemtuzumab versus fingolimod in RRMS after natalizumab cessation.

J Neurol 2019 Jan 16;266(1):165-173. Epub 2018 Nov 16.

Department of Neurology and Institute for Translational Neurology, University Hospital Muenster, University of Muenster, Albert-Schweitzer-Campus 1, 48149, Muenster, Germany.

Background: Natalizumab (NTZ) was the first approved monoclonal antibody for the treatment of relapsing-remitting multiple sclerosis (RRMS). Despite proven and sustained efficacy, its use is limited by the risk of progressive multifocal leukoencephalopathy (PML). Moreover, some patients show ongoing disease activity under NTZ, requiring a switch to another disease-modifying treatment (DMT). However, evidence regarding the optimal DMT for treatment of active RRMS after NTZ-cessation is still scarce.

Objective: To evaluate efficacy and safety outcomes of ALEM vs FTY treatment after cessation of NTZ.

Methods: We retrospectively identified patients at 12 German neurology centers and analyzed risks for disease activity, adverse events, disability progression, and treatment discontinuation.

Results: 195 patients were identified and 144 underwent final analysis (FTY: 101; ALEM: 42). The hazard ratio for clinical relapses was 2.24 favoring ALEM (95% CI 1.12-4.50; p = 0.015). The hazard ratio for adverse events was 7.78 (95% CI 1.04-57.95; p = 0.006) and 2.41 for MRI progression (95% CI 1.26-4.60; p = 0.004). The odds ratio for disability progression after 12 months was 4.84 (95% CI 1.74-13.47, p = 0.003). Differences remained after adjusting for possible confounders (e.g., age, sex, baseline disability, NTZ treatment duration, washout time).

Conclusion: Our findings indicated particular advantages of ALEM compared to FTY in patients stopping NTZ.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/s00415-018-9117-zDOI Listing
January 2019

Costs of illness in chronic inflammatory demyelinating polyneuropathy in Germany.

Muscle Nerve 2018 11 3;58(5):681-687. Epub 2018 Oct 3.

Department of Neurology, Philipps-University of Marburg, Marburg, Germany.

Introduction: Cost of illness studies are essential to estimate societal costs of chronic inflammatory demyelinating polyneuropathy (CIDP) and identify cost-driving factors.

Methods: In total, 108 patients were recruited from 3 specialized neuroimmunological clinics. Costs were calculated for a 3-month period, including direct and indirect costs. The following outcomes were assessed: inflammatory neuropathy cause and treatment disability scale, Mini-Mental State Examination, Beck Depression Inventory, Charlson comorbidity index, EuroQol-5D, World Health Organization quality of life instrument, and socioeconomic status. Univariate and multivariate analyses were applied to identify cost-driving factors.

Results: Total quarterly costs were €11,333. Direct costs contributed to 83% of total costs (€9,423), whereas indirect costs accounted for 17% (€1,910) of total costs. The cost of intravenous immunoglobulin (IVIg) was the main determinant of total costs (67%). Reduced health-related quality of life and depressive symptoms were identified as independent predictors of higher total costs.

Discussion: CIDP is associated with high societal costs, mainly resulting from the cost of IVIg treatment. Muscle Nerve 58: 681-687, 2018.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1002/mus.26315DOI Listing
November 2018

DNA methylation as a mediator of HLA-DRB1*15:01 and a protective variant in multiple sclerosis.

Nat Commun 2018 06 19;9(1):2397. Epub 2018 Jun 19.

Wellcome Trust Centre for Human Genetics, University of Oxford, Oxford, OX3 7BN, UK.

The human leukocyte antigen (HLA) haplotype DRB1*15:01 is the major risk factor for multiple sclerosis (MS). Here, we find that DRB1*15:01 is hypomethylated and predominantly expressed in monocytes among carriers of DRB1*15:01. A differentially methylated region (DMR) encompassing HLA-DRB1 exon 2 is particularly affected and displays methylation-sensitive regulatory properties in vitro. Causal inference and Mendelian randomization provide evidence that HLA variants mediate risk for MS via changes in the HLA-DRB1 DMR that modify HLA-DRB1 expression. Meta-analysis of 14,259 cases and 171,347 controls confirms that these variants confer risk from DRB1*15:01 and also identifies a protective variant (rs9267649, p < 3.32 × 10, odds ratio = 0.86) after conditioning for all MS-associated variants in the region. rs9267649 is associated with increased DNA methylation at the HLA-DRB1 DMR and reduced expression of HLA-DRB1, suggesting a modulation of the DRB1*15:01 effect. Our integrative approach provides insights into the molecular mechanisms of MS susceptibility and suggests putative therapeutic strategies targeting a methylation-mediated regulation of the major risk gene.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1038/s41467-018-04732-5DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6008330PMC
June 2018

Incidence and mitigation of gastrointestinal events in patients with relapsing-remitting multiple sclerosis receiving delayed-release dimethyl fumarate: a German phase IV study (TOLERATE).

Ther Adv Neurol Disord 2018 18;11:1756286418768775. Epub 2018 Apr 18.

Biogen, Ismaning, Germany.

Background: Gastrointestinal (GI) events are common adverse events (AEs) associated with delayed-release dimethyl fumarate (DMF), an approved treatment for relapsing-remitting multiple sclerosis (RRMS). The objective of the TOLERATE study was to evaluate GI tolerability and GI mitigation symptomatic therapies in patients initiating DMF in a real-world clinical setting in Germany.

Methods: TOLERATE was a multicentre, open-label, single-arm study performed at 25 German sites. Endpoints were frequency, severity, duration (all primary) and mitigation of GI-related events (secondary). Patients were instructed to take DMF according to the prescribing information for up to 12 weeks and to document GI events and intake of GI-symptomatic therapy on numerical rating scales, using eDiaries.

Results: A total of 211 patients were included in the safety population (71% female; mean age 40 ± 11 years). Of these, 185 patients (87.7%) reported GI-related events, out of which nearly half received GI-symptomatic therapy (84/185; 45.4%). The most frequently reported GI events were upper abdominal pain, flatulence and nausea. GI-related events peaked during the first 3 weeks of therapy and rapidly decreased thereafter. The severity of GI events over 12 weeks according to the Modified Overall Gastrointestinal Symptom Scale were mild to moderate in the majority of patients reporting GI-related events and taking symptomatic GI medication (53.6%). Only 10% of all patients discontinued study treatment due to AEs in general, while 6.6% discontinued due to GI-related events. The severity of GI-related events decreased over time in patients who received symptomatic treatment with one or more medications (e.g. acid secretion blockers, antidiarrhoeals or antiemetics).

Conclusion: Gastrointestinal events associated with delayed-release DMF were mainly mild to moderate in severity. Prevalence of GI events peaked during the first 3 weeks of therapy and rapidly faded thereafter. Although 44.9% of patients experiencing GI events used common GI symptomatic therapies, only 6.6% of patients discontinued DMF because of GI events, suggesting that GI events could be managed well with common symptomatic therapy.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1177/1756286418768775DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5912264PMC
April 2018

Treatment choices and neuropsychological symptoms of a large cohort of early MS.

Neurol Neuroimmunol Neuroinflamm 2018 May 1;5(3):e446. Epub 2018 Mar 1.

Department of Neurology (O.v.B., B.A., R.G., A.S.), St. Josef-Hospital, Ruhr-University Bochum; Institute of Medical Biometry and Statistics (T.D., N.H., A.Z.), University of Lübeck, University Hospital Schleswig-Holstein, Campus Lübeck; Central Information Office (CIO) (G.A.), Philipps-University Marburg, Germany; School of Mathematics (A.Z.), Statistics and Computer Science, University of KwaZulu-Natal, Pietermaritzburg, South Africa; Department of Neurology (M.-M.H., L.A., B.H.), Klinikum rechts der Isar, Technical University of Munich; Munich Cluster for Systems Neurology (SyNergy) (L.A., B.H.); Department of Neurology (F.L., S.G., F.Z.), University Medicine Mainz, Johannes Gutenberg University Mainz; Department of Neurology (L.K., S.G.M., H.W.), University Hospital Münster; Department of Neurology (B.T.), Philipps-University Marburg; Department of Neurology (M.Stoppe, F.T.B.), University of Leipzig; Department of Neurology (H.T.), University of Ulm; Clinic of Neurology Dietenbronn (H.T.), Schwendi; Institute of Clinical Neuroimmunology (T.K.), Ludwig Maximilian University of Munich; Department of Neurology (M.Stangel), Hannover Medical School; Institut für Neuroimmunologie und Multiple Sklerose (C.H.), Universitätsklinikum Hamburg-Eppendorf; Department of Neurology (B.W.), University of Heidelberg; NeuroCure Clinical Research Center and Experimental and Clinical Research Center (F.P.), Charité-University Medicine Berlin and Max Delbrueck Center for Molecular Medicine; Department of Neurology (A.B.), Klinikum Augsburg; Department of Neurology (C.W.), Heinrich-Heine-University, Düsseldorf; Department of Neurology (C.W.), University Hospital Köln; Neurology (F.W.), Max-Planck-Institute of Psychiatry, Munich; Neurological Clinic (F.W.), MATERNUS Kliniken AG, Bad Oeynhausen; Department of Neurology (R.A.L.), University Hospital Erlangen; Department of Neurology & Stroke (U.Z.), Hertie Institute for Clinical Brain Research, Eberhard-Karls-University Tübingen; Department of Neurology (U.K.Z.), University of Rostock, Germany; and Department of Neurology (A.S.), Inselspital Bern, University Hospital and University of Bern, Switzerland.

Objective: To assess clinical characteristics, distribution of disease-modifying treatments (DMTs), and neuropsychological symptoms in a large cohort of patients with early-stage MS.

Methods: The German National MS Cohort is a multicenter prospective longitudinal cohort study that has recruited DMT-naive patients with clinically isolated syndrome (CIS) and relapsing-remitting MS (RRMS) since 2010. We evaluated their baseline characteristics and the prevalence of neuropsychological symptoms.

Results: Of 1,124 patients, with a 2.2:1 female-to-male ratio and median age at onset of 31.71 years (interquartile range [IQR]: 26.06-40.33), 44.6% and 55.3% had CIS and RRMS, respectively. The median Expanded Disability Status Scale (EDSS) score at baseline was 1.5 (IQR: 1.0-2.0). A proportion of 67.8% of patients started DMT after a median time of 167.0 days (IQR 90.0-377.5) since the first manifestation. A total of 64.7% and 70.4% of the 762 patients receiving early DMT were classified as CIS and RRMS, respectively. Fatigue, depressive symptoms, and cognitive dysfunction were detected in 36.5%, 33.5%, and 14.7% of patients, respectively.

Conclusion: Baseline characteristics of this large cohort of patients with early, untreated MS corroborated with other cohorts. Most patients received early DMT within the first year after disease onset, irrespective of a CIS or RRMS diagnosis. Despite the low EDSS score, neuropsychological symptoms affected a relevant proportion of patients.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1212/NXI.0000000000000446DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5833336PMC
May 2018

Acetylcholine Receptor Antibody Titers and Clinical Course after Influenza Vaccination in Patients with Myasthenia Gravis: A Double-Blind Randomized Controlled Trial (ProPATIent-Trial).

EBioMedicine 2018 Feb 10;28:143-150. Epub 2018 Jan 10.

Klinik für Neurologie, Philipps-Universität und Universitätsklinikum Marburg, Baldingerstr. 1, Marburg 35043, Germany; Klinik für Neurologie, Klinikum Christophsbad, Faurndauer Str. 6, Göppingen 73035, Germany.

Background: It is a continuous matter of discussion whether immune activation by vaccination in general and Influenza vaccination in particular increases the risk for clinical deterioration of autoimmune diseases. This prospective study investigated the serological and clinical course of autoimmune Myasthenia gravis (MG) after a seasonal influenza vaccination.

Methods: This randomized, placebo-controlled, double-blind study enrolled MG patients with antibodies against acetylcholine-receptors (AChR-ab). They were allocated to receive seasonal influenza vaccine or placebo. The primary endpoint was the relative change of AChR-ab-titer over 12weeks. A relative increase of 20% was set as non-inferiority margin. Secondary endpoints were clinical changes in the modified Quantitative Myasthenia Gravis Score (QMG), increase of anti-influenza-ELISA-antibodies, and changes of treatment. The study is registered with Clinicaltrialsregister.eu, EudraCT number 2006-004374-27.

Findings: 62 patients were included. Mean±standard deviation (median) in the vaccine and placebo group were AChR-ab-titer changes of -6.0%±23.3% (-4.0%) and -2.8%±22.0% (-0.5%) and QMG score changes of -0.08±0.27 (0.17) and 0.11±0.31 (0.00), respectively. The difference between groups (Hodges-Lehmann estimate with 95% CI) was - for the AChR-ab-titer change 4·0% [-13.3%, 4.5%] (p=0.28 for testing a difference, p<0.0001 for testing non-inferiority) and for the QMG change 0·00 [-0.17, 0.00] (p=0.79 for testing a difference). The occurrence of 74 adverse events (AE) was comparable between groups. The most common AE was flu-like symptoms. One serious AE (hospitalisation following gastrointestinal haemorrhage) in the verum group was not related to the vaccine.

Interpretation: Influenza vaccination in MG is safe. Uprating the potential risk of a severe course of MG exacerbation during influenza infection compared to the 95% CI differences for the endpoints, vaccination is principally indicated in this patient population.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.ebiom.2018.01.007DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5835557PMC
February 2018

Serum titers of autoantibodies against α-synuclein and tau in child- and adulthood.

J Neuroimmunol 2018 02 11;315:33-39. Epub 2017 Dec 11.

Department of Neurology, Philipps-University Marburg, Baldingerstrasse, 35043 Marburg, Germany; Chair of Geriatrics, University Hospital Essen, University Duisburg-Essen, Germaniastrasse 1-3, 45356 Essen, Germany.

Autoreactive antibodies against the proteins alpha-synuclein (α-syn) and tau are detectable in body fluids of both healthy and diseased elderly people. However, nothing is known about their presence or titers in children. To close this gap and to characterize their temporary expression levels, we used ELISA techniques to investigate the serum titers of α-syn and tau reactive autoantibodies in 37 and 32 adults and 37 and 31 children, respectively. Most serum samples from the children exhibited both antibody types and interestingly, the levels were similar to those observed in the adult serum samples. Furthermore, sex-specific analysis revealed significantly increased α-syn reactive autoantibody titers in female children. The presence of α-syn and tau reactive autoantibodies in early childhood indicates that both immunoglobulins belong to the pool of naturally occurring autoantibodies (nAbs), as their antigen-independent synthesis from birth is a crucial characteristic. Due to their general participation in the maintenance of the physiological homeostasis, we hypothesize that both investigated nAbs are involved in the metabolic regulation of their specific antigen. Therefore, they may be a part of a mechanism that already exists in the innate immunological repertoire to provide protection from pathologies caused by dysregulated α-syn and tau metabolisms.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.jneuroim.2017.12.003DOI Listing
February 2018

Clinical and Demographic Profile of Patients Receiving Fingolimod in Clinical Practice in Germany and the Benefit-Risk Profile of Fingolimod After 1 Year of Treatment: Initial Results From the Observational, Noninterventional Study PANGAEA.

Neurotherapeutics 2018 01;15(1):190-199

Novartis Pharma GmbH, Nuremberg, Germany.

The population with multiple sclerosis receiving treatment in clinical practice differs from that in randomized controlled trials (RCTs). An assessment of the real-world benefit-risk profile of therapies is needed. This analysis used data from the large, noninterventional, observational German study Post-Authorization Non-interventional German sAfety study of GilEnyA (PANGAEA) to assess prospectively baseline characteristics and outcomes after 12 months (± 90 days) of fingolimod treatment. Patients were divided into 2 cohorts: fingolimod starter [first received fingolimod in PANGAEA (n = 3315)] and previous study [received fingolimod before enrollment in PANGAEA in RCTs (n = 875), some of whom also had baseline data at entry into RCTs (n = 505)]. At PANGAEA baseline, patients in the fingolimod starter versus the previous study cohort had a higher annualized relapse rate [ARR (95% confidence interval): 1.79 (1.75-1.83) vs 1.32 (1.25-1.40)] and Expanded Disability Status Scale score [3.11 (3.04-3.17) vs 2.55 (2.44-2.66)]. A greater proportion in the fingolimod starter versus previous study cohort had diabetes (2.0% vs 0.7%). After 12 months of fingolimod, ARRs were lower than in the 12 months before PANGAEA enrollment in the fingolimod starter [0.386 (0.360-0.414)] and previous study [0.276 (0.238-0.320)] cohorts. Expanded Disability Status Scale scores were stable versus baseline. Adverse events were experienced by similar proportions in both cohorts during fingolimod treatment. Relevant differences exist in disease activity and comorbidities between patients receiving fingolimod in clinical practice versus RCTs. Irrespective of baseline differences indicating a higher proportion at an advanced stage of multiple sclerosis in the real world versus RCTs, fingolimod remains effective, with a manageable safety profile.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/s13311-017-0595-yDOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5794706PMC
January 2018

Cerebrospinal fluid microRNAs are potential biomarkers of temporal lobe epilepsy and status epilepticus.

Sci Rep 2017 06 12;7(1):3328. Epub 2017 Jun 12.

Department of Physiology & Medical Physics, Royal College of Surgeons in Ireland, 123 St Stephen's Green, Dublin 2, Ireland.

There is a need for diagnostic biomarkers of epilepsy and status epilepticus to support clinical examination, electroencephalography and neuroimaging. Extracellular microRNAs may be potentially ideal biomarkers since some are expressed uniquely within specific brain regions and cell types. Cerebrospinal fluid offers a source of microRNA biomarkers with the advantage of being in close contact with the target tissue and sites of pathology. Here we profiled microRNA levels in cerebrospinal fluid from patients with temporal lobe epilepsy or status epilepticus, and compared findings to matched controls. Differential expression of 20 microRNAs was detected between patient groups and controls. A validation phase included an expanded cohort and samples from patients with other neurological diseases. This identified lower levels of miR-19b in temporal lobe epilepsy compared to controls, status epilepticus and other neurological diseases. Levels of miR-451a were higher in status epilepticus compared to other groups whereas miR-21-5p differed in status epilepticus compared to temporal lobe epilepsy but not to other neurological diseases. Targets of these microRNAs include proteins regulating neuronal death, tissue remodelling, gliosis and inflammation. The present study indicates cerebrospinal fluid contains microRNAs that can support differential diagnosis of temporal lobe epilepsy and status epilepticus from other neurological and non-neurological diseases.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1038/s41598-017-02969-6DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5468228PMC
June 2017

Treatment response to dimethyl fumarate is characterized by disproportionate CD8+ T cell reduction in MS.

Mult Scler 2018 04 24;24(5):632-641. Epub 2017 Apr 24.

Department of Neurology, Focus Program Translational Neuroscience (FTN), and Immunology (FZI), Rhine-Main Neuroscience Network (rmn2), University Medical Center of the Johannes Gutenberg University Mainz, Mainz, Germany.

Background: The effect of dimethyl fumarate (DMF) on circulating lymphocyte subsets and their contribution as predictors of clinical efficacy have not yet been investigated in multiple sclerosis (MS).

Objective: To evaluate lymphocytes and lymphocyte subsets (analyzed 6 months after DMF start) in MS patients with and without disease activity after 1 year of treatment in a retrospective study.

Methods: Peripheral blood lymphocyte subsets were analyzed by flow cytometry. Untreated MS patients ( n = 40) were compared to those 6 months after onset of DMF treatment ( n = 51). Clinical and magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) disease activity of DMF-treated patients were assessed in the first year under treatment.

Results: Stable patients showed significantly lower lymphocytes, CD4+ and CD8+ T cells as well as CD19+ B cells compared to active patients under DMF treatment. Furthermore, an increased CD4/CD8 ratio ( p < 0.025) in stable patients indicated a disproportionate reduction of CD8+ T cells relative to CD4+ T cells. Reduced lymphocytes, CD8+ T cells, and CD19+ B cells 6 months after DMF start allowed prediction of the treatment response in the first year.

Conclusion: DMF treatment response is reflected by lower circulating lymphocytes and specific lymphocyte subsets. Changes in the cellular immune profiles under DMF treatment are clinically relevant and might serve as a surrogate marker of treatment response.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1177/1352458517703799DOI Listing
April 2018
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