Publications by authors named "Finn Sellebjerg"

147 Publications

Natalizumab Versus Fingolimod in Patients with Relapsing-Remitting Multiple Sclerosis: A Subgroup Analysis From Three International Cohorts.

CNS Drugs 2021 Sep 18. Epub 2021 Sep 18.

Neurology Unit, Garibaldi Hospital, Catania, Italy.

Introduction: Natalizumab has proved to be more effective than fingolimod in reducing disease activity in relapsing-remitting multiple sclerosis (RRMS). Whether this association is universal for all patient groups remains to be determined.

Objective: The aim of this study was to compare the relative effectiveness of natalizumab and fingolimod in RRMS subgroups defined by the baseline demographic and clinical characteristics of interest.

Methods: Patients with RRMS who were given natalizumab or fingolimod were identified in a merged cohort from three international registries. Efficacy outcomes were compared across subgroups based on patients' sex, age, disease duration, Expanded Disability Status Scale (EDSS) score, and disease and magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) activity 12 months prior to treatment initiation. Study endpoints were number of relapses (analyzed with weighted negative binomial generalized linear model) and 6-month confirmed disability worsening and improvement events (weighted Cox proportional hazards model), recorded during study therapy. Each patient was weighted using inverse probability of treatment weighting based on propensity score.

Results: A total of 5148 patients (natalizumab 1989; fingolimod 3159) were included, with a mean ± standard deviation age at baseline of 38 ± 10 years, and the majority (72%) were women. The median on-treatment follow-up was 25 (quartiles 15-41) months. Natalizumab was associated with fewer relapses than fingolimod (incidence rate ratio [IRR]; 95% confidence interval [CI]) in women (0.76; 0.65-0.88); in those aged ≤ 38 years (0.64; 0.54-0.76); in those with disease duration ≤ 7 years (0.63; 0.53-0.76); in those with EDSS score < 4 (0.75; 0.64-0.88), < 6 (0.80; 0.70-0.91), and ≥ 6 (0.52; 0.31-0.86); and in patients with pre-baseline relapses (0.74; 0.64-0.86). A higher probability of confirmed disability improvement on natalizumab versus fingolimod (hazard ratio [HR]; 95% CI) was observed among women (1.36; 1.10-1.66); those aged > 38 years (1.34; 1.04-1.73); those with disease duration > 7 years (1.33; 1.01-1.74); those with EDSS score < 6 (1.21; 1.01-1.46) and ≥ 6 (1.93; 1.11-3.34); and patients with no new MRI lesion (1.73; 1.19-2.51).

Conclusions: Overall, in women, younger patients, those with shorter disease durations, and patients with pre-treatment relapses, natalizumab was associated with a lower frequency of multiple sclerosis relapses than fingolimod. It was also associated with an increased chance of recovery from disability among most patients, particularly women and those with no recent MRI activity.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/s40263-021-00860-7DOI Listing
September 2021

Pregnancy-Related and Perinatal Outcomes in Women With Multiple Sclerosis: A Nationwide Danish Cross-sectional Study.

Neurol Clin Pract 2021 Aug 3;11(4):280-290. Epub 2021 Feb 3.

Department of Neurology (JBA, TIK), The Danish Multiple Sclerosis Registry, University of Copenhagen; and Department of Neurology (FS, MM), The Danish Multiple Sclerosis Center, University of Copenhagen, Denmark.

Objective: To investigate differences in pregnancy-related and perinatal outcomes in women with multiple sclerosis (MS) compared with the general population.

Methods: We conducted a cross-sectional study including pregnancies from January 1, 1997, to December 31, 2016, to women registered in the Danish Multiple Sclerosis Registry (the study cohort). Pregnancy-related and perinatal outcomes were compared with a randomly selected subcohort of pregnancies from the general population (the comparison cohort) using logistic regression adjusted for possible confounders.

Results: In total, 2,930 pregnancies were included in the study cohort and 56,958 pregnancies in the comparison cohort. No differences were found in pregnancy-related complications (preeclampsia/gestational diabetes or placenta complications), emergency caesarean section (c-section), instrumental delivery, low Apgar score, stillbirth, preterm birth, or congenital malformations. Elective c-section (odds ratio [OR] 1.89 [95% confidence interval (CI) 1.65-2.16]), induced delivery (OR 1.15 [95% CI 1.01-1.31]), and being born small for gestational age (SGA) (OR 1.29 [95 %CI 1.04-1.60]) had a higher prevalence in the study cohort, whereas the prevalence of signs indicating asphyxia was lower in the study cohort (OR 0.87 [95% CI 0.78-0.97]) relative to the comparison cohort.

Conclusion: We found a higher prevalence of elective c-sections, induced delivery, and infants being SGA among newborns to women with MS, whereas the prevalence of asphyxia was lower in the study cohort. There were no significant differences in severe adverse perinatal outcomes when comparing women with MS and their newborns with those of the general population.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1212/CPJ.0000000000001035DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC8382416PMC
August 2021

Dimethyl Fumarate Treatment in Patients With Primary Progressive Multiple Sclerosis: A Randomized, Controlled Trial.

Neurol Neuroimmunol Neuroinflamm 2021 09 24;8(5). Epub 2021 Aug 24.

From the Danish Multiple Sclerosis Center (H.H.C., J.T., L.M., M.M., S.B., R.H.H., M.B., J.R.C., P.S.S., M.E., F.S.), Copenhagen University Hospital, Rigshospitalet Glostrup, Glostrup; Danish Research Centre for Magnetic Resonance (H.L., C.G.M., H.R.S.), Copenhagen University Hospital Hvidovre, Hvidovre; Section of Biostatistics (T.L.), Department of Public Health, University of Copenhagen, Copenhagen K; Department of Neurology (H.R.S.), Copenhagen University Hospital Bispebjerg, Copenhagen; and Institute for Clinical Medicine (H.R.S.), University of Copenhagen, Copenhagen N, Denmark.

Background And Objective: To study whether dimethyl fumarate is superior to placebo in decreasing CSF concentrations of neurofilament light chain (NFL) in patients with primary progressive MS (PPMS).

Methods: In the double-blind, placebo-controlled phase 2 study dimethyl FUMArate treatment in Progressive Multiple Sclerosis (FUMAPMS), patients with PPMS were randomly assigned to treatment with 240 mg dimethyl fumarate or placebo in a 1:1 ratio for 48 weeks. The primary endpoint was change in concentration of NFL in the CSF. Secondary endpoints included other CSF biomarkers and clinical and MRI measures. Efficacy was evaluated for the full data set by multiple imputations to account for missing data. Safety was assessed for the full data set.

Results: Fifty-four patients (mean age 54.9 years [SD 6.1], median Expanded Disability Status Scale 4.0 [nterquartile range 4.0-6.0], disease duration 14.1 [SD 9.4], and 21 [39%] female) were randomized to either placebo (n = 27) or dimethyl fumarate (n = 27) therapy. At screening CSF concentrations, adjusted for age and sex, of NFL, myelin basic protein (MBP), soluble CD27, chitinase 3-like 1, and B-cell maturation antigen were higher than in a group of symptomatic controls. Twenty-six patients (96%) in the dimethyl fumarate group and 24 patients (89%) in the placebo group completed the randomized phase. Mean change in CSF concentrations of NFL did not differ between groups (mean difference 99 ng/L; 95% CI -292 to 491 ng/L). MBP in CSF decreased in the treatment group (-182 ng/L, 95% CI -323 to -41 ng/L compared with placebo). The difference observed in the multiple imputation data set was not significant in a per protocol analysis. This was nominally significant in the multiple imputation data set but not in the per protocol analysis This was not found in the per protocol analysis Other secondary and tertiary outcomes were not affected. Various infections, lymphopenia, flushing, and gastrointestinal side effects were more frequent in the dimethyl fumarate group. Serious adverse events were similar between groups.

Discussion: Dimethyl fumarate treatment for 48 weeks had no effect on any of the investigated efficacy measures in patients with PPMS. We did not observe adverse events not anticipated for dimethyl fumarate treatment.

Trial Registration Information: Clinicaltrials.gov identifier NCT02959658.

Classification Of Evidence: This study provides Class I evidence that for patients with PPMS, dimethyl fumarate treatment has no effect on CSF NFL levels compared with placebo treatment.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1212/NXI.0000000000001037DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC8407149PMC
September 2021

Treatment Escalation vs Immediate Initiation of Highly Effective Treatment for Patients With Relapsing-Remitting Multiple Sclerosis: Data From 2 Different National Strategies.

JAMA Neurol 2021 Aug 16. Epub 2021 Aug 16.

Department of Clinical Neuroscience, Institute of Neuroscience and Physiology, Sahlgrenska Academy, Gothenburg, Sweden.

Importance: Treatment strategies for relapsing-remitting multiple sclerosis (RRMS) vary markedly between Denmark and Sweden. The difference in the association of these national strategies with clinical outcomes is unknown.

Objective: To investigate the association of national differences in disease-modifying treatment (DMT) strategies for RRMS with disability outcomes.

Design, Setting, And Participants: This cohort study used data on 4861 patients from the Danish and Swedish national multiple sclerosis (MS) registries from the date of index DMT initiation (between January 1, 2013, and December 31, 2016) until the last recorded visit at time of data extraction (October 2, 2019).

Exposures: All MS-specific DMTs initiated during the observation period were included in the analysis.

Main Outcomes And Measures: The primary study outcome was time to 24-week confirmed disability worsening. Secondary outcomes were 24-week confirmed disability improvement, milestone Expanded Disability Status Scale scores of 3 and 4, annualized relapse rate, time to first relapse, and treatment switching. Data were analyzed using inverse probability of treatment weighting-based models using a propensity score to weight and correct the comparison for the imbalance of confounders observed at baseline between the 2 countries.

Results: A total of 2700 patients from the Swedish MS registry (1867 women [69.2%]; mean [SD] age, 36.1 [9.5] years) and 2161 patients from the Danish MS registry (1472 women [68.1%]; mean [SD] age, 37.3 [9.4 years]) started a first DMT between 2013 and 2016, were included in the analysis, and were observed for a mean (SD) of 4.1 (1.5) years. A total of 1994 Danish patients (92.3%) initiated a low to moderately effective DMT (teriflunomide, 907 [42.0%]) and 165 (7.6%) initiated a highly effective DMT, whereas a total of 1769 Swedish patients (65.5%) initiated a low to moderately effective DMT (teriflunomide, 64 [2.4%]) and 931 (34.5%) initiated a highly effective DMT. The Swedish treatment strategy was associated with a 29% reduction in the rate of postbaseline 24-week confirmed disability worsening relative to the Danish treatment strategy (hazard ratio, 0.71; 95% CI, 0.57-0.90; P = .004). The Swedish treatment strategy was also associated with a 24% reduction in the rate of reaching an expanded disability status scale score of 3 (hazard ratio, 0.76; 95% CI, 0.60-0.97; P = .03) and a 25% reduction in the rate of reaching an expanded disability status scale score of 4 (hazard ratio, 0.75; 95% CI, 0.61-0.96; P = .01) relative to Danish patients.

Conclusions And Relevance: The findings of this study suggest that there is an association between differences in treatment strategies for RRMS and disability outcomes at a national level. Escalation of treatment efficacy was inferior to using more efficacious DMT as initial treatment.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1001/jamaneurol.2021.2738DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC8369379PMC
August 2021

Methylation and Gene Expression in Relation to the Multiple Sclerosis-Associated Gene Variant rs2104286 and Soluble IL-2Rα in CD8 T Cells.

Front Immunol 2021 27;12:676141. Epub 2021 Jul 27.

Danish Multiple Sclerosis Center, Department of Neurology, Copenhagen University Hospital, Rigshospitalet, Glostrup, Denmark.

CD8 T cells are involved in the pathogenesis of multiple sclerosis (MS). The interleukin-2 receptor α (IL-2Rα) is important for CD8 T cell function, and single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) in the gene encoding IL-2Rα increase the risk of MS. Therefore, in isolated CD8 T cells we investigated gene methylation and gene expression in relation to the MS-associated SNP rs2104286 and soluble IL-2Rα (sIL-2Rα). We have identified allele specific methylation of the CpG-site located in intron 1 that is perturbed by the rs2104286 SNP in CD8 T cells from genotype-selected healthy subjects (HS). However, methylation of selected CpG-sites in the promotor or 5'UTR region of the gene was neither associated with the rs2104286 SNP nor significantly correlated with gene expression in HS. In CD8 T cells from HS, we explored expression of immune relevant genes but observed only few associations with the rs2104286 SNP. However, we found that sIL-2Rα correlated negatively with expression of 55 immune relevant genes, including the IL-7 receptor gene, with Spearman's rho between -0.49 and -0.32. Additionally, in HS by use of flow cytometry we observed that the IL-7 receptor on naïve CD8 T cells correlated negatively with sIL-2Rα and was downregulated in carriers of the rs2104286 MS-associated risk genotype. Collectively, our study of resting CD8 T cells indicates that the rs2104286 SNP has a minor effect and sIL-2Rα may negatively regulate the CD8 T cell response.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.3389/fimmu.2021.676141DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC8353370PMC
July 2021

Transcriptome and Function of Novel Immunosuppressive Autoreactive Invariant Natural Killer T Cells That Are Absent in Progressive Multiple Sclerosis.

Neurol Neuroimmunol Neuroinflamm 2021 11 12;8(6). Epub 2021 Aug 12.

From the Biotech Research and Innovation Centre (BRIC) (B.C., Y.L., M.H., J.L., S.I.-N.), University of Copenhagen; Danish Multiple Sclerosis Center (J.R.C., C.A., P.S.S.), University of Copenhagen and Department of Neurology, Rigshospitalet; Blood Bank (M.H.D.), Copenhagen University Hospital, Denmark; Centre d'Esclerosi Múltiple de Catalunya (M.C.), Cemcat, Unitat de Neuroimmunologia Clínica, Hospital Universitari Vall d´Hebron (HUVH) - Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona, Barcelona, Spain; and Centre d'Esclerosi Múltiple de Catalunya (X.M.), Cemcat, Unitat de Neuroimmunologia Clínica, Hospital Universitari Vall d´Hebron (HUVH) - Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona, Spain; Danish Multiple Sclerosis Center, University of Copenhagen and Department of Neurology, Rigshospitalet, Denmark.

Background And Objective: The aim of this study was to determine whether natural killer T (NKT) cells, including invariant (i) NKT cells, have clinical value in preventing the progression of multiple sclerosis (MS) by examining the mechanisms by which a distinct self-peptide induces a novel, protective invariant natural killer T cell (iNKT cell) subset.

Methods: We performed a transcriptomic and functional analysis of iNKT cells that were reactive to a human collagen type II self-peptide, hCII707-721, measuring differentially induced genes, cytokines, and suppressive capacity.

Results: We report the first transcriptomic profile of human conventional vs novel hCII707-721-reactive iNKT cells. We determined that hCII707-721 induces protective iNKT cells that are found in the blood of healthy individuals but not progressive patients with MS (PMS). By transcriptomic analysis, we observed that hCII707-721 promotes their development and proliferation, favoring the splicing of full-length AKT serine/threonine kinase 1 (AKT1) and effector function of this unique lineage by upregulating tumor necrosis factor (TNF)-related genes. Furthermore, hCII707-721-reactive iNKT cells did not upregulate interferon (IFN)-γ, interleukin (IL)-4, IL-10, IL-13, or IL-17 by RNA-seq or at the protein level, unlike the response to the glycolipid alpha-galactosylceramide. hCII707-721-reactive iNKT cells increased TNFα only at the protein level and suppressed autologous-activated T cells through FAS-FAS ligand (FAS-FASL) and TNFα-TNF receptor I signaling but not TNF receptor II.

Discussion: Based on their immunomodulatory properties, NKT cells have a potential value in the treatment of autoimmune diseases, such as MS. These significant findings suggest that endogenous peptide ligands can be used to expand iNKT cells, without causing a cytokine storm, constituting a potential immunotherapy for autoimmune conditions, including PMS.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1212/NXI.0000000000001065DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC8362604PMC
November 2021

Assessment of commonly used methods to determine myelin-reactivity of T cells in multiple sclerosis.

Clin Immunol 2021 09 3;230:108817. Epub 2021 Aug 3.

Danish Multiple Sclerosis Center, Department of Neurology, Copenhagen University Hospital - Rigshospitalet, University of Copenhagen, Nordre Ringvej 57, 2600 Glostrup, Denmark.; Department of Clinical Medicine, University of Copenhagen, Copenhagen, Denmark.

Many studies have analyzed myelin-reactivity of T cells in multiple sclerosis (MS); however, with conflicting results. In this study we compare methods to determine myelin reactivity of T cells and aim to delineate the cause of inconsistency in the literature. Challenging T cells with myelin antigens we found a significant increase in antigen-reactivity of T cells from patients with MS using an ELISpot-assay, in contrast to a CFSE-dilution assay. Comparing the two assays showed that the myelin-reactive T cells detected in the ELISpot-assay originated primarily from effector memory T cells in contrast to the myelin-reactive T cells of the CFSE-assay representing a population of both naïve, central memory and effector memory T cells. This diversity in T cell populations activated in the two assays likely contribute to the discrepancy found in the literature and encourages thorough considerations when choosing an assay to determine antigen-specificity of T cells in future studies.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.clim.2021.108817DOI Listing
September 2021

Biomarkers of systemic inflammation, soluble IL-2Rα and the multiple sclerosis-associated IL2RA SNP rs2104286 in healthy subjects and multiple sclerosis patients.

Mult Scler Relat Disord 2021 Jul 7;54:103140. Epub 2021 Jul 7.

Danish Multiple Sclerosis Center, Department of Neurology, Copenhagen University Hospital, Rigshospitalet, Glostrup, Denmark; Department of Clinical Medicine, University of Copenhagen, Copenhagen, Denmark.

Soluble interleukin-2 (IL-2) receptor α (sIL-2Rα) antagonizes IL-2 signaling and is involved in the pathogenesis of several immune-mediated diseases including multiple sclerosis (MS). The level of sIL-2Rα is affected by the MS-associated single nucleotide polymorphism (SNP) rs2104286. By use of ELISA and electrochemiluminescence, we investigated if 26 biomarkers of systemic inflammation were associated with sIL-2Rα and rs2104286 in cohorts of healthy subjects and MS patients in serum and heparin plasma. We found that sIL-2Rα significantly correlated with the level of tumor necrosis factor-α (TNFα) (r = 0.391, p = 0.002) in healthy subjects and the association was validated in a separate cohort. Additional, in healthy subjects we confirmed a previous report indicating that C-reactive protein (CRP) correlates with sIL-2Rα (r = 0.278, p = 0.034). None of the biomarkers of systemic inflammation were significantly associated with sIL-2Rα in MS patients. Furthermore, the MS-associated SNP rs2104286 was not significantly associated with any of the biomarkers of systemic inflammation in neither healthy subjects nor MS patients. We conclude that sIL-2Rα is associated with TNFα and CRP in healthy subjects. However, further research is required to confirm the use of sIL-2Rα as biomarker of systemic inflammation as well as to assess the mechanism underlying the observed correlation between levels of sIL-2Rα and TNFα.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.msard.2021.103140DOI Listing
July 2021

The effectiveness of natalizumab vs fingolimod-A comparison of international registry studies.

Mult Scler Relat Disord 2021 Aug 8;53:103012. Epub 2021 May 8.

KTU Medical Faculty Farabi Hospital, Trabzon, Turkey.

Background: Natalizumab and fingolimod were the first preparations recommended for disease breakthrough in priorly treated relapsing-remitting multiple sclerosis. Of three published head-to-head studies two showed that natalizumab is the more effective to prevent relapses and EDSS worsening.

Methods: By re-analyzing original published results from MSBase, France, and Denmark using uniform methodologies, we aimed at identifying the effects of differences in methodology, in the MS-populations, and at re-evaluating the differences in effectiveness between the two drugs. We gained access to copies of the individual amended databases and pooled all data. We used uniform inclusion/exclusion criteria and statistical methods with Inverse Probability Treatment Weighting.

Results: The pooled analyses comprised 968 natalizumab- and 1479 fingolimod treated patients. The on-treatment natalizumab/fingolimod relapse rate ratio was 0.77 (p=0.004). The hazard ratio (HR) for a first relapse was 0.82 (p=0.030), and the HR for sustained EDSS improvement was 1.4 (p=0.009). There were modest differences between each of the original published studies and the replication study, but the conclusions of the three original studies remained unchanged: in two of them natalizumab was more effective, but in the third there was no difference between natalizumab and fingolimod.

Conclusion: The results were largely invariant to the epidemiological and statistical methods but differed between the MS populations. Generally, the advantage of natalizumab was confirmed.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.msard.2021.103012DOI Listing
August 2021

Serum Short-Chain Fatty Acids and Associations With Inflammation in Newly Diagnosed Patients With Multiple Sclerosis and Healthy Controls.

Front Immunol 2021 6;12:661493. Epub 2021 May 6.

Danish Multiple Sclerosis Center, Department of Neurology, Copenhagen University Hospital, Rigshospitalet, Glostrup, Denmark.

Multiple sclerosis (MS) is a chronic immune-mediated disease characterized by demyelination and neuroaxonal damage in the central nervous system. The etiology is complex and is still not fully understood. Accumulating evidence suggests that our gut microbiota and its metabolites influence the MS pathogenesis. Short-chain fatty acids (SCFAs), such as acetate, propionate and butyrate, are metabolites produced by gut microbiota through fermentation of indigestible carbohydrates. SCFAs and kynurenine metabolites have been shown to have important immunomodulatory properties, and propionate supplementation in MS patients has been associated with long-term clinical improvement. However, the underlying mechanisms of action and its importance in MS remain incompletely understood. We analyzed serum levels of SCFAs and performed targeted metabolomics in relation to biomarkers of inflammation, and clinical and MRI measures in newly diagnosed patients with relapsing-remitting MS before their first disease modifying therapy and healthy controls (HCs). We demonstrated that serum acetate levels were nominally reduced in MS patients compared with HCs. The ratios of acetate/butyrate and acetate/(propionate + butyrate) were significantly lower in MS patients in a multivariate analysis (orthogonal partial least squares discriminant analysis; OPLS-DA). The mentioned ratios and acetate levels correlated negatively with the pro-inflammatory biomarker , indicating an inverse relation between acetate and inflammation. In contrast, the proportion of butyrate was found higher in MS patients in the multivariate analysis, and both butyrate and valerate correlated positively with proinflammatory cytokines ( and ), suggesting complex bidirectional regulatory properties of SCFAs. Branched SCFAs were inversely correlated with clinical disability, at a nominal significance level. Otherwise SCFAs did not correlate with clinical variables or MRI measures. There were signs of an alteration of the kynurenine pathway in MS, and butyrate was positively correlated with the immunomodulatory metabolite 3-hydroxyanthranilic acid. Other variables that influenced the separation between MS and HCs were NfL, and , D-ribose 5-phosphate, pantothenic acid and D-glucuronic acid. In conclusion, we provide novel results in this rapidly evolving field, emphasizing the complexity of the interactions between SCFAs and inflammation; therefore, further studies are required to clarify these issues before supplementation of SCFAs can be widely recommended.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.3389/fimmu.2021.661493DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC8134701PMC
May 2021

Real-world outcomes for a complete nationwide cohort of more than 3200 teriflunomide-treated multiple sclerosis patients in The Danish Multiple Sclerosis Registry.

PLoS One 2021 18;16(5):e0250820. Epub 2021 May 18.

The Danish Multiple Sclerosis Registry, University Hospital Copenhagen, Rigshospitalet, Copenhagen, Denmark.

Objective: Teriflunomide is a once-daily, oral disease-modifying therapy (DMT) for relapsing forms of multiple sclerosis (MS). We studied clinical outcomes in a real-world setting involving a population-based large cohort of unselected patients enrolled in The Danish Multiple Sclerosis Registry (DMSR) who started teriflunomide treatment between 2013-2019.

Methods: This was a complete nationwide population-based cohort study with prospectively enrolled unselected cases. Demographic and disease-specific patient parameters related to treatment history, efficacy outcomes, and discontinuation and switching rates among other clinical variables were assessed at baseline and during follow-up visits.

Results: A total of 3239 patients (65.4% female) started treatment with teriflunomide during the study period, 56% of whom were treatment-naïve. Compared to previously treated patients, treatment-naïve patients were older on average at disease onset, had a shorter disease duration, a lower Expanded Disability Status Scale score at teriflunomide treatment start and more frequently experienced a relapse in the 12 months prior to teriflunomide initiation. In the 3001 patients initiating teriflunomide treatment at least 12 months before the cut-off date, 72.7% were still on treatment one year after treatment start. Discontinuations in the first year were due mainly to adverse events (15.6%). Over the full follow-up period, 47.5% of patients discontinued teriflunomide treatment. Sixty-three percent of the patients treated with teriflunomide for 5 years were relapse-free, while significantly more treatment-naïve versus previously treated patients experienced a relapse during the follow-up (p<0.0001). Furthermore, 85% of the patients with available data were free of disability worsening at the end of follow-up.

Conclusions: Solid efficacy and treatment persistence data consistent with other real-world studies were obtained over the treatment period. Treatment outcomes in this real-world scenario of the population-based cohort support previous findings that teriflunomide is an effective and generally well-tolerated DMT for relapsing MS patients with mild to moderate disease activity.
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http://journals.plos.org/plosone/article?id=10.1371/journal.pone.0250820PLOS
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC8130956PMC
May 2021

Natalizumab differentially affects plasmablasts and B cells in multiple sclerosis.

Mult Scler Relat Disord 2021 Jul 1;52:102987. Epub 2021 May 1.

Danish Multiple Sclerosis Center, Department of Neurology, Rigshospitalet, Copenhagen University Hospital, Glostrup, Denmark. Electronic address:

Background: Natalizumab treatment increases the frequencies of B cells in blood but reduces IgG in blood and CSF. Plasmablasts are important in the production of IgG, and the development of plasmablasts is CD49d dependent.

Objective: We hypothesized that natalizumab treatment affects the development of plasmablasts.

Methods: We retrospectively analyzed frequencies and absolute counts of B cell subsets by flow cytometry from a longitudinal cohort of 9 progressive multiple sclerosis (MS) patients treated with natalizumab for 60 weeks, and a cross-sectional relapsing-remitting MS (RRMS) cohort with 17 untreated and 37 treated with natalizumab (17 stable and 20 unstable patients with relapse activity). Additionally, CD49d expression on B cell subsets was examined in 10 healthy controls, and blood and cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) frequencies of B cell subsets were quantified in untreated and natalizumab treated RRMS patients.

Results: In progressive MS, levels of IgG decreased in plasma (p<0.001) from baseline to 60 weeks follow-up. In the progressive MS and RRMS cohorts we observed that natalizumab treatment significantly increased the frequency of B cells (p=0.004; p<0.0001) and several B cell subsets, most pronounced for memory B cell subsets (p=0.0001; p<0.0001), while there was a decrease in plasmablast frequency (p=0.008; p=0.008). In both progressive MS and RRMS the absolute cell counts of B cells increased (p=0.004; p<0.001), which was explained by a significant increase in all subsets, except for plasmablasts. Furthermore, we found decreased memory B cell counts in unstable compared to stable natalizumab-treated patients (p=0.02). The expression of CD49d was higher on plasmablasts compared to other B cell subsets (p<0.0001). In CSF, plasmablasts could not be detected in patients treated with natalizumab, in contrast to an increased frequency in untreated RRMS patients.

Conclusion: We confirm previous studies showing that natalizumab increases circulating number of B cells, particularly memory cells, concomitant with a decrease in plasma IgG concentrations. Moreover, we demonstrate in two separate cohorts that natalizumab treatment markedly decreases frequencies of plasmablasts while the absolute number is stable. Additionally, plasmablasts have high expression of CD49d, and plasmablasts could not be detected in the CSF of natalizumab-treated patients. Finally, memory B cells were found to be reduced in unstable natalizumab-treated patients, which could possibly indicate increased recruitment to the CNS.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.msard.2021.102987DOI Listing
July 2021

Targeting B cells in multiple sclerosis.

Curr Opin Neurol 2021 06;34(3):295-302

Institute of Neuropathology, University Medical Center Göttingen.

Purpose Of Review: Treatments targeting B cells are increasingly used for patients with multiple sclerosis (MS). We review the mechanisms of action, clinical effectiveness and safety of treatment, with emphasis on recently published studies.

Recent Findings: Several monoclonal antibodies targeting the surface molecule CD20 on B cells are approved or being developed for treatment of MS. Overall, they seem comparable in terms of strongly suppressing radiological disease activity and relapse biology. Novel approaches include anti-CD19 antibody therapy and treatment with oral drugs targeting Bruton's tyrosine kinase (BTK). The main safety issue with persistent B cell depletion is an increased risk of infections - possibly including an increased risk of severe COVID-19. Vaccine responses are also blunted in patients treated with anti-CD20 antibodies. Lower doses or longer infusion intervals may be sufficient for control of disease activity. Whether this might also improve the safety of treatment and increase vaccination responses remains to be determined.

Summary: Available data support the widespread use of therapies targeting B cells in MS. Whether novel approaches targeting CD19 or BTK will have advantages compared to anti-CD20 antibody therapy remains to be established. Furthermore, trials investigating alternative dosing regimens for anti-CD20 antibody treatment are warranted.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1097/WCO.0000000000000938DOI Listing
June 2021

Alemtuzumab treatment in Denmark: A national study based on the Danish Multiple Sclerosis Registry.

Mult Scler 2021 Mar 29:13524585211003291. Epub 2021 Mar 29.

Department of Neurology, Odense University Hospital, Odense, Denmark/Institute of Clinical Research, University of Southern Denmark, Odense, Denmark.

Objective: To investigate clinical outcomes in a real-world setting in the complete population-based cohort of alemtuzumab-treated MS patients in Denmark.

Methods: Data were retrieved from The Danish Multiple Sclerosis Registry between 2009 and 2019. Demographic and disease-specific patient parameters related to treatment history, efficacy, and safety outcomes were assessed at baseline and during follow-up visits.

Results: A total of 209 patients (78% female) started treatment with alemtuzumab during the study period with 3.1 ± 1.4 years follow-up. After 2 years, 75% of patients were relapse-free compared to 48% the year before alemtuzumab ( < 0.001). The annual number of relapses was reduced by 69% in year 4 compared with the year prior alemtuzumab. More active disease before alemtuzumab increased the annual hazard rate for relapse (HR: 2.88,  < 0.001). The Expanded Disability Status Scale (EDSS) score remained stable or improved in 81% of patients after 2 years. The need for an additional treatment course was associated with higher number of relapses in the year before alemtuzumab (odds ratio (OR) = 1.95,  = 0.001).

Conclusion: In a country with primarily escalation strategy, relapse rate reduction was maintained for 5 years, and EDSS stabilized/improved in majority of patients. Higher relapse rate 1 year before alemtuzumab increased the odds for additional courses. Novel serious AEs were not observed.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1177/13524585211003291DOI Listing
March 2021

Population-based head-to-head comparison of the clinical characteristics and epidemiology of AQP4 antibody-positive NMOSD between two European countries.

Mult Scler Relat Disord 2021 Jun 3;51:102879. Epub 2021 Mar 3.

Department of Neurology, Odense University Hospital, Odense, Denmark; Institute of Clinical Research, University of Southern Denmark, Odense, Denmark.

Background: Population-based clinical studies in neuromyelitis optica spectrum disorder (NMOSD) and epidemiological and clinical comparisons of White ethnicities are missing. In a large population-based international cohort, we extensively characterized aquaporin-4 antibody seropositive (AQP4-Ab+) NMOSD, and also compared the clinical, radiological and epidemiological features between two European populations residing in different areas.

Methods: Between self-reported Danish and Hungarian ethnicities, we compared the population-based clinical features, disability outcomes, and death of 134 AQP4-Ab+ NMOSD cases fulfilling the 2015 International Panel for NMO Diagnosis (IPND) criteria. For precise comparison of epidemiology, we conducted a population-based head-to-head comparative study of the age-standardized prevalence (January 1, 2014) and incidence (2007-2013) of AQP4-Ab+ NMO/NMOSD among adults (≥16 years) in Denmark (4.6 million) and Hungary (6.4 million) by applying 2015 IPND (NMOSD) criteria and 2006 Wingerchuk (NMO).

Results: Danes were more likely to present with transverse myelitis and were more affected by spinal cord damage on long-term disability. Hungarians presented most often with optic neuritis, although visual outcome was similar in the groups. No differences were observed in sex, disease course, relapse rate, autoimmune comorbidity, mortality, brain MRI, and treatment strategies. The age-standardized prevalence estimates of AQP4-Ab+ NMOSD (2015 IPND criteria) in Denmark vs. Hungary were 0.66 vs. 1.43 (/100,000) while incidence rates were 0.04 vs. 0.11 (/100,000 person-years); similar differences were found based on the 2006 NMO criteria.

Conclusions: This head-to-head comparative study indicates different disease characteristics and epidemiology among White populations in Europe, and substantiates the need for population-based genetic and environmental studies in NMOSD.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.msard.2021.102879DOI Listing
June 2021

CSF proteome in multiple sclerosis subtypes related to brain lesion transcriptomes.

Sci Rep 2021 Feb 18;11(1):4132. Epub 2021 Feb 18.

Department of Neurology, Odense University Hospital, J.B. Winslowsvej 4, 5000, Odense C, Denmark.

To identify markers in the CSF of multiple sclerosis (MS) subtypes, we used a two-step proteomic approach: (i) Discovery proteomics compared 169 pooled CSF from MS subtypes and inflammatory/degenerative CNS diseases (NMO spectrum and Alzheimer disease) and healthy controls. (ii) Next, 299 proteins selected by comprehensive statistics were quantified in 170 individual CSF samples. (iii) Genes of the identified proteins were also screened among transcripts in 73 MS brain lesions compared to 25 control brains. F-test based feature selection resulted in 8 proteins differentiating the MS subtypes, and secondary progressive (SP)MS was the most different also from controls. Genes of 7 out these 8 proteins were present in MS brain lesions: GOLM was significantly differentially expressed in active, chronic active, inactive and remyelinating lesions, FRZB in active and chronic active lesions, and SELENBP1 in inactive lesions. Volcano maps of normalized proteins in the different disease groups also indicated the highest amount of altered proteins in SPMS. Apolipoprotein C-I, apolipoprotein A-II, augurin, receptor-type tyrosine-protein phosphatase gamma, and trypsin-1 were upregulated in the CSF of MS subtypes compared to controls. This CSF profile and associated brain lesion spectrum highlight non-inflammatory mechanisms in differentiating CNS diseases and MS subtypes and the uniqueness of SPMS.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1038/s41598-021-83591-5DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7892884PMC
February 2021

Neutrophil-to-lymphocyte ratio and CRP as biomarkers in multiple sclerosis: A systematic review.

Acta Neurol Scand 2021 Jun 16;143(6):577-586. Epub 2021 Feb 16.

Department of Neurology, Danish Multiple Sclerosis Center, Rigshospitalet, University of Copenhagen, Glostrup, Denmark.

Multiple sclerosis (MS) is a chronic immune-mediated disease of the central nervous system, which causes demyelination and neuroaxonal damage. Low-grade systemic inflammation has been suggested to contribute to the pathogenesis due to amplification of pathogenic immune activation. However, there is a lack of reliable biomarkers of systemic inflammation predicting disease activity and progression in MS. The neutrophil-to-lymphocyte ratio (NLR) and C-reactive protein (CRP) have been identified as biomarkers of severity and disease activity in various disorders. In September 2020, we conducted a systematic literature search on multiple databases on studies reporting NLR values or CRP levels in MS. The aim of this systematic review was to highlight the current knowledge about the potential of NLR and CRP as biomarkers in MS. A total of nineteen articles qualified for inclusion. Data on CRP were included in fourteen studies and NLR in nine studies. The results regarding CRP were inconsistent, and present literature does not support the use of CRP as a diagnostic or prognostic biomarker in MS. In contrast, NLR values were increased in MS patients compared with healthy controls in all case-control studies. Furthermore, NLR was associated with disease activity in untreated patients. Our systematic review therefore indicates that NLR might serve as a potential biomarker of disease activity. Given that the results of NLR are mainly drawn from retrospective case-control or cross-sectional studies, future prospective studies with long-term follow-up are required to accurately determine optimal timing and cutoff values that may be used in the clinical setting.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/ane.13401DOI Listing
June 2021

Pregnancy-Induced Changes in microRNA Expression in Multiple Sclerosis.

Front Immunol 2020 28;11:552101. Epub 2021 Jan 28.

Danish Multiple Sclerosis Center, Copenhagen University Hospital, Rigshospitalet, Glostrup, Denmark.

Pregnancy affects the disease course in multiple sclerosis (MS), particularly in the third trimester, where the relapse rate is reduced by as much as two thirds. This study aimed at identifying changes in microRNA (miRNA) and immune cell phenotypes in pregnant MS patients. Discovery and validation studies to detect differentially expressed miRNAs were performed with quantitative real-time PCR on peripheral blood mononuclear cells (PBMC). Flow cytometry analysis was performed on PBMC stained with antibodies directed against surface markers of antigen presenting cells (APCs), NK-cells, NKT cells, CD4+ and CD8+ T cells and subsets of these cell types, including PDL1 and PDL2 expressing subsets. RNA was extracted from whole blood, monocytes, and NK-cells to investigate expression and correlation between regulated miRNAs and mRNAs. In total, 15 miRNAs were validated to be differentially expressed between third trimester pregnant and postpartum MS patients (Benjamini-Hochberg false discovery rate from p = 0.03-0.00004). Of these, 12 miRNAs were downregulated in pregnancy and 6 of the 15 miRNAs were altered by more than ±2-fold (+2.99- to -6.38-fold). Pregnant MS patients had a highly significant increase in the percentage of monocytes and a decrease of NK-cells and myeloid dendritic cells compared to non-pregnant MS patients. We confirm previous reports of a relative increase in CD56-bright NK-cells and a decrease in CD56-dim NK-cells in third trimester of pregnancy and report an increase in non-committed follicular helper cells. and expression was increased in pregnant patients together with . Also, in monocytes , , and were upregulated whereas miR-1, miR-20a, miR-28, miR-95, miR-146a, miR-335, and miR-625 were downregulated between pregnant and untreated MS patients. , , and were predicted targets of MS pregnancy-changed miRNAs, further supported by their negative correlations. Additionally, previously identified pregnancy-regulated mRNAs were identified as predicted targets of the miRNAs. PDL1 and PDL2 bind PD-1 expressed on T cells with an inhibitory effect on T-cell proliferation and increase in IL10 production. These results indicate that some of the effects behind the disease-ameliorating third trimester of pregnancy might be caused by changed expression of miRNAs and immunoregulatory molecules in monocytes.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.3389/fimmu.2020.552101DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7876450PMC
April 2021

Age and sex as determinants of treatment decisions in patients with relapsing-remitting MS.

Mult Scler Relat Disord 2021 May 5;50:102813. Epub 2021 Feb 5.

Danish Multiple Sclerosis Center, Department of Neurology, Copenhagen University Hospital Rigshospitalet, Copenhagen, Denmark; The Danish Multiple Sclerosis Registry, Department of Neurology, Rigshospitalet, Denmark.

Background: . Most patients with relapsing-remitting multiple sclerosis (RRMS) are initially treated with moderate efficacy disease-modifying therapies (meDMTs), and only a smaller group of highly active patients are initiated on a high efficacy disease-modifying therapy (heDMT). Real-world data have shown that choosing a heDMT as the initial therapy in highly active RRMS patients is more effective than using a meDMT, and that in patients with breakthrough disease on a meDMT escalation of treatment to a heDMT is more effective than staying on the same or switching to another meDMT. The role of age and sex as determinants for selection of the initial treatment intensity, and for using escalation of treatment intensity in patients with relapse activity on treatment with meDMTs, is only partially known.

Methods: . We included all Danish patients with RRMS registered in The Danish Multiple Sclerosis Registry who began a DMT since 2014 and stratified the cohort according to sex and age < 40 and ≥ 40 years at first DMT treatment. We studied determinants, with emphasis on age and sex, for the primary choice of therapy, for adherence to the initial therapy and for treatment escalation. Based on existing literature and clinical relevance, we included the following potential confounders in the analyses: DMT efficacy, pre-treatment relapse activity, disease duration, Expanded Disability Status Scale (EDSS) score, and, in a subgroup, MRI activity.

Results: . With all covariates mutually adjusted, patient age was a strong decisive factor for choosing a heDMT with odds ratio 1.69 for starting a heDMT in patients < 40 years compared with patients ≥ 40 years. Men had odds ratio 1.53 for starting with a heDMT compared with women. The odds ratio of heDMT in patients with EDSS > 3 vs ≤ 3 was 3.49, and every additional relapse was associated with increased odds ratio 2.33 for heDMT. Patients were more adherent to the initial heDMTs than to the initial meDMTs. Patients above 40 years were more prone to stay on the initial treatment compared to patients below 40, regardless of whether the initial treatment was meDMT (p<0.001) or heDMT (p=0.008) (covariates mutually adjusted). Relapse activity resulted in escalation of therapy to a heDMT in 67% of patients aged < 40 years (N=273) and in 56% patients aged 40 years or above (N=159) (p=0.008), and younger patients had odds ratio 1.46 of escalating therapy compared to older patients. Male patients were more likely to have treatment escalation to heDMTs than female patients (odds ratio 2.03).

Conclusion: . Age and sex appear to be independent determinants for the choice of the initial DMT and for the decision of treatment escalation in patients with breakthrough disease on a meDMT. It is unfortunate, if older age is a factor that make choice of a heDMT more unlikely, as many DMTs seems to be less efficacious in older patients.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.msard.2021.102813DOI Listing
May 2021

Effect of lateral therapy switches to oral moderate-efficacy drugs in multiple sclerosis: a nationwide cohort study.

J Neurol Neurosurg Psychiatry 2021 May 12;92(5):556-562. Epub 2021 Jan 12.

Danish Multiple Sclerosis Center, Department of Neurology, Rigshospitalet, University of Copenhagen, Copenhagen, Denmark.

Background: Switching between first-line disease-modifying therapies in patients with clinically stable relapsing-remitting multiple sclerosis (RRMS) due to reasons other than disease activity is frequent, but evidence on the effect of this practice is limited. We investigated the effect of switching patients with stable RRMS on occurrences of disability accumulation, relapses and future treatment discontinuation.

Methods: Using the Danish Multiple Sclerosis Registry, we identified patients with RRMS without disease activity who either (1) stayed on injectable platform therapy (interferon-β or glatiramer acetate) or (2) switched to dimethyl fumarate (DMF) or teriflunomide (TFL) and compared treatment outcomes using propensity-score-based methods and marginal structural models (MSM).

Results: We included 3206 patients in the study. We found no change in risk of 6-month confirmed Expanded Disability Status Scale score worsening in patients switching to DMF (HR: 1.15, 95% CI 0.88 to 1.50) or TFL (HR: 1.16, 95% CI 0.92 to 1.46). The risk of suffering any relapse tended to decrease when switching to DMF (HR: 0.73, 95% CI 0.51 to 1.04) and tended to increase when switching to TFL (HR: 1.25, 95% CI 0.96 to 1.63). Absolute risk differences were small. MSM analyses showed similar results but did not find an increased relapse risk in TFL switchers.

Conclusion: Switching from injectable platform therapies to oral first-line therapies in patients with clinically stable RRMS does not increase the risk of disability accumulation. While the postswitch risk of relapses trended towards marginally higher on TFL, this trend was eliminated by adjustment for time-variant confounders.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1136/jnnp-2020-324869DOI Listing
May 2021

Cladribine inhibits secretion of pro-inflammatory cytokines and phagocytosis in human monocyte-derived M1 macrophages in-vitro.

Int Immunopharmacol 2021 Feb 24;91:107270. Epub 2020 Dec 24.

Merck (Denmark), Denmark, an affiliate of Merck KGaA Darmstadt, Germany; Department of Odontology, University of Copenhagen, Denmark. Electronic address:

Cladribine (Cd) is a purine nucleoside analogue which in an oral formulation is approved for treatment of patients with multiple sclerosis (MS). It is known to mediate the effect through a short-term selective reduction of lymphocytes with minimal effect on the innate immune system. However, a few studies have emerged, that also demonstrate a beneficial immunomodulatory effect of cladribine on monocyte-derived cells. As cladribine crosses the blood-brain barrier this effect could have clinical meaningful impact in the treatment of MS, where recruitment of innate cells such as M1 macrophages play a role in plaque development. Here, we investigated the in-vitro effect on monocyte differentiation into M1 and M2 macrophages and dendritic cells as well as the effect on activation of M1 macrophages. In our experiments, cladribine in therapeutic relevant in-vitro concentrations, did not lead to apoptosis in differentiated M1, M2 macrophages or DCs and did not interfere with the phenotype of these differentiated cells. In M1 macrophages, cladribine reduced the secretion of IL-6 and TNF-α observed after activation with LPS. Similar, cladribine reduced the phagocytic capacity of LPS activated M1 macrophages but did not affect unactivated cells. We conclude, that such reduction of inflammatory potential as well as reduced M1 phagocytic activity, e.g. within an MS plaque, could be an additional clinical meaningful effect of cladribine in the treatment of MS while at the same time it would leave M1 macrophages intact for the protection against infections.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.intimp.2020.107270DOI Listing
February 2021

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

Disentangling white-matter damage from physiological fibre orientation dispersion in multiple sclerosis.

Brain Commun 2020 8;2(2):fcaa077. Epub 2020 Jun 8.

Danish Research Centre for Magnetic Resonance, Centre for Functional and Diagnostic Imaging and Research, Copenhagen University Hospital Hvidovre, 2650 Hvidovre, Denmark.

Multiple sclerosis leads to diffuse damage of the central nervous system, affecting also the normal-appearing white matter. Demyelination and axonal degeneration reduce regional fractional anisotropy in normal-appearing white matter, which can be routinely mapped with diffusion tensor imaging. However, the standard fractional anisotropy metric is also sensitive to physiological variations in orientation dispersion of white matter fibres. This complicates the detection of disease-related damage in large parts of cerebral white matter where microstructure physiologically displays a high degree of fibre dispersion. To resolve this ambiguity, we employed a novel tensor-valued encoding method for diffusion MRI, which yields a microscopic fractional anisotropy metric that is unaffected by regional variations in orientation dispersion. In 26 patients with relapsing-remitting multiple sclerosis, 14 patients with primary-progressive multiple sclerosis and 27 age-matched healthy controls, we compared standard fractional anisotropy mapping with the novel microscopic fractional anisotropy mapping method, focusing on normal-appearing white matter. Mean microscopic fractional anisotropy and standard fractional anisotropy of normal-appearing white matter were significantly reduced in both patient groups relative to healthy controls, but microscopic fractional anisotropy yielded a better reflection of disease-related white-matter alterations. The reduction in mean microscopic fractional anisotropy showed a significant positive linear relationship with physical disability, as reflected by the expanded disability status scale. Mean reduction of microscopic fractional anisotropy in normal-appearing white matter also scaled positively with individual cognitive dysfunction, as measured with the symbol digit modality test. Mean microscopic fractional anisotropy reduction in normal-appearing white matter also showed a positive relationship with total white-matter lesion load as well as lesion load in specific tract systems. None of these relationships between normal-appearing white-matter microstructure and clinical, cognitive or structural measures emerged when using mean fractional anisotropy. Together, the results provide converging evidence that microscopic fractional anisotropy mapping substantially advances the assessment of cerebral white matter in multiple sclerosis by disentangling microstructure damage from variations in physiological fibre orientation dispersion at the stage of data acquisition. Since tensor-valued encoding can be implemented in routine diffusion MRI, microscopic fractional anisotropy mapping bears considerable potential for the future assessment of disease progression in normal-appearing white matter in both relapsing-remitting and progressive forms of multiple sclerosis as well as other white-matter-related brain diseases.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/braincomms/fcaa077DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7472898PMC
June 2020

Motor fatigue is associated with asymmetric connectivity properties of the corticospinal tract in multiple sclerosis.

Neuroimage Clin 2020 25;28:102393. Epub 2020 Aug 25.

Danish Research Centre for Magnetic Resonance, Centre for Functional and Diagnostic Imaging and Research, Copenhagen University Hospital Hvidovre, Denmark.

Multiple Sclerosis (MS) is characterized by demyelination and neurodegeneration of the central nervous system and causes excessive fatigue in more than 80% of the patients. The pathophysiologic mechanisms causing fatigue are still largely unknown. In 46 right-handed patients with relapsing-remitting MS and 25 right-handed controls, we performed diffusion MRI and applied streamline based probabilistic tractography to derive unilateral anatomical connectivity maps for the white matter of the right and left hemispheres. The maps provide an indication how often a streamline has passed through a given voxel. Since tractography based anatomical connectivity mapping (ACM) is sensitive to disease-induced changes in anatomical connectivity, we used ACM to test whether motor fatigue is associated with altered ipsi-hemispherical anatomical connectivity in the major motor output pathway, the corticospinal tract (CST). Patients had higher mean ACM values in the CST than healthy controls. This indicated that a higher number of streamlines, starting from voxels in the same hemisphere, travelled through the CST and may reflect an accumulated disease-induced disintegration of CST. The motor subscale of the Fatigue Scale for Motor and Cognitive functions (FSMC) was used to define sub-groups with (n = 29, FSMC score ≥ 27) and without motor fatigue (n = 17, FSMS score ≤ 26). Patients without fatigue only showed higher ACM values in right CST, while mean ACM values were unaltered in left CST. The higher the mean ACM values in the left relative to the right CST, the more patients reported motor fatigue. Left-right asymmetry in anatomical connectivity outside the CST did not scale with individual motor fatigue. Our results link lateralized changes of tractography-based microstructural properties in the CST with motor fatigue in relapsing-remitting MS.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.nicl.2020.102393DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7490847PMC
June 2021

The apparently milder course of multiple sclerosis: changes in the diagnostic criteria, therapy and natural history.

Brain 2020 09;143(9):2637-2652

Department of Neurology, Hospital General Universitari Vall D'Hebron, Cemcat, Barcelona, Spain.

In the past decade, changes have occurred in the spectrum of multiple sclerosis courses. The natural history of multiple sclerosis appears milder from the first sign of demyelinating disease to the progressive course, probably as a result of an interplay between several factors including changes in the diagnostic criteria, changes in the epidemiology of multiple sclerosis, impact of early and appropriate disease-modifying treatment and improvement of the general state of health in the population. It has been suggested to regard incidental findings of demyelinating lesions in MRI in individuals without any history of clinical symptoms consistent with neurological dysfunction, so-called radiological isolated syndrome, as the initial course of multiple sclerosis. New diagnostic criteria have enabled the multiple sclerosis diagnosis in many patients at the first clinical demyelinating event, clinically isolated syndrome. The remaining patients with clinically isolated syndrome have a more benign prognosis, and for relapsing-remitting multiple sclerosis, the prognosis has become more favourable. Reduced disease activity in patients with relapsing-remitting multiple sclerosis can partly be ascribed to more efficacious new disease-modifying therapies but decrease in disease activity has also be seen in placebo-treated patients in clinical trials. This may be explained by several factors: change in the diagnostic criteria, more explicit inclusion criteria, exclusion of high-risk patients e.g. patients with co-morbidities, and more rigorous definitions of relapses and disease worsening. However, these factors also make the disease course in patients treated with disease-modifying therapies seem more favourable. In addition, change in the therapeutic target to stable disease (no evidence of disease activity = no relapses, no disease worsening and no MRI activity) could by itself change the course in relapsing-remitting multiple sclerosis. The effectiveness of disease-modifying drugs has reduced the transition from relapsing-remitting to secondary progressive multiple sclerosis. The concept of progressive multiple sclerosis has also evolved from two very distinct categories (primary progressive and secondary progressive multiple sclerosis) to a unified category of progressive multiple sclerosis, which can then be split into the categories of active or inactive. Also, an increasing tendency to treat progressive multiple sclerosis with disease-modifying therapies may have contributed to change the course in progressive multiple sclerosis. In conclusion, during the past decade the entire course of multiple sclerosis from the first sign of a demyelinating disorder through the progressive course appears to be milder due to a complex interplay of several factors.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/brain/awaa145DOI Listing
September 2020

Multiplex assessment of cerebrospinal fluid biomarkers in multiple sclerosis.

Mult Scler Relat Disord 2020 Oct 11;45:102391. Epub 2020 Jul 11.

Danish Multiple Sclerosis Center Department of Neurology, Copenhagen University Hospital Rigshospitalet, Glostrup, Denmark. Electronic address:

Background: Several roles for biomarkers in multiple sclerosis (MS) exist, including aiding in the diagnosis of MS, predicting disease activity or progression, and defining individuals who may be responsive to specific treatments. Cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) concentrations of soluble B cell maturation antigen (sBCMA) and soluble CD27 (sCD27) have been shown to be sensitive biomarkers of inflammation in MS and are thought to reflect B and T cell activity, respectively. Furthermore, chitinase 3-like 1 (CHI3L1) and soluble CD14 (sCD14) have been suggested as measures of innate immune cell activity in MS. In this study we sought to validate measurements of these CSF biomarkers of inflammation using multiplex bead-based immunoassays.

Methods: By using commercially available multiplex bead-based assays, concentrations of sBCMA, sCD27, sCD14 and CHI3L1 were determined in CSF from 22 patients with either untreated clinically isolated syndromes (CIS) or relapsing-remitting MS (RRMS), 13 patients with RRMS treated with either natalizumab or alemtuzumab, and 35 symptomatic controls (SC).

Results: Increased CSF concentrations of sBCMA, sCD27 and CHI3L1 were observed in untreated MS patients compared to symptomatic controls (all p < 0.001). Concentrations of sBCMA (p = 0.02) and sCD27 (p = 0.0003) were higher in treated MS patients than in SC, and levels of sBCMA (p = 0.02) and sCD27 (p = 0.01) were even higher in untreated compared to treated patients. sCD14 levels did not differ between the groups. Levels of sBCMA and sCD27 correlated strongly with each other (Spearman's rho: 0.98, p < 0.0001) as well as with the IgG index (Spearman's rho: 0.91, p < 0.0001 and 0.90, p < 0.0001, respectively). ROC curve analysis showed a high discriminatory potential for sBCMA and sCD27 with areas under the curve of 0.88 and 0.93, respectively.

Conclusion: We confirm reports of elevated concentrations of sBCMA, sCD27 and CHI3L1 in CSF from untreated MS patients compared to SC. sBCMA and sCD27 levels were elevated in both treated and untreated MS patients compared to SC, but highest in untreated patients. Finally, CSF concentrations of sBCMA, sCD27 and the IgG index correlated strongly, suggesting that the cellular source of sCD27 and sBCMA includes memory B cells, plasmablasts and plasma cells.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.msard.2020.102391DOI Listing
October 2020

Serum neurofilament light as a biomarker in progressive multiple sclerosis.

Neurology 2020 09 16;95(10):436-444. Epub 2020 Jul 16.

From the University College London (R.K.), United Kingdom; National Multiple Sclerosis Society (K.E.S., M.A.), New York; McGill University (D.L.A.), Montreal, Canada; Perron Institute (W.C.), Sir Charles Gairdner Hospital, Perth, Australia; University Hospital Vall d'Hebron (M.C.), Barcelona, Spain; San Raffaele Scientific Institute (R.F.), Milan, Italy; Genentech/Roche (C.H.), South San Francisco; University Hospital Basel (J.K., D.L.), Switzerland; Biogen (T.P.), Boston; Quanterix Corporation (T.P.), Billerica; Rigshospitalet (F.S.), University of Copenhagen, Denmark; Progressive Multiple Sclerosis Alliance (C.S.), Glasgow, United Kingdom; Amsterdam UMC (C.E.T.), the Netherlands; MedDay Pharma (I.T.), Paris, France; Novartis (F.v.R.), Basel, Switzerland; Elizabeth Walker Consulting (E.W.), Seattle; and Mellen Center for Multiple Sclerosis (R.J.F.), Cleveland Clinic.

There is an unmet need in multiple sclerosis (MS) therapy for treatments to stop progressive disability. The development of treatments may be accelerated if novel biomarkers are developed to overcome the limitations of traditional imaging outcomes revealed in early phase trials. In January 2019, the International Progressive MS Alliance convened a standing expert panel to consider potential tissue fluid biomarkers in MS in general and in progressive MS specifically. The panel focused their attention on neurofilament light chain (NfL) in serum or plasma, examining data from both relapsing and progressive MS. Here, we report the initial conclusions of the panel and its recommendations for further research. Serum NfL (sNfL) is a plausible marker of neurodegeneration that can be measured accurately, sensitively, and reproducibly, but standard procedures for sample processing and analysis should be established. Findings from relapsing and progressive cohorts concur and indicate that sNfL concentrations correlate with imaging and disability measures, predict the future course of the disease, and can predict response to treatment. Importantly, disease activity from active inflammation (i.e., new T2 and gadolinium-enhancing lesions) is a large contributor to sNfL, so teasing apart disease activity from the disease progression that drives insidious disability progression in progressive MS will be challenging. More data are required on the effects of age and comorbidities, as well as the relative contributions of inflammatory activity and other disease processes. The International Progressive MS Alliance is well positioned to advance these initiatives by connecting and supporting relevant stakeholders in progressive MS.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1212/WNL.0000000000010346DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7538221PMC
September 2020

Initial high-efficacy disease-modifying therapy in multiple sclerosis: A nationwide cohort study.

Neurology 2020 08 7;95(8):e1041-e1051. Epub 2020 Jul 7.

From the Danish Multiple Sclerosis Registry (M.D.B., T.A.C., M.M.) and Danish Multiple Sclerosis Center (M.D.B., T.A.C., F.S., J.R.C., R.C., P.S.S., M.M.), Department of Neurology, Rigshospitalet; Department of Neurology (I.B., V.H., J.S.), Aalborg University Hospital; Department of Neurology (M.K.C., T.P., P.V.R.), Aarhus University Hospital; Department of Neurology (Z.I., V.P., Á.T.), Odense University Hospital; Brain and Nerve Diseases (H.B.J.), Lillebaelt Hospital, Kolding; Institute of Regional Health Research (H.B.J.), University of Southern Denmark, Odense; Department of Neurology (M.K.), Hospital of Southern Jutland, Sønderborg; and Department of Neurology (A.W.), Herlev Hospital, Denmark.

Objective: To determine the effectiveness of high-efficacy disease-modifying therapies (heDMTs) vs medium-efficacy disease-modifying therapies (meDMT) as the first treatment choice in treatment-naive patients with multiple sclerosis (MS) on disability worsening and relapses. We assessed this using a nationwide population-based MS registry.

Methods: We identified all patients starting a heDMT as first-time treatment from the Danish Multiple Sclerosis Registry and compared treatment outcomes with a propensity score matched sample of patients starting meDMT.

Results: We included 388 patients in the study: 194 starting initial therapy with heDMT matched to 194 patients starting meDMT. At 4 years of follow-up, the probabilities of a 6-month confirmed Expanded Disability Status Scale (EDSS) score worsening were 16.7% (95% confidence interval [CI] 10.4%-23.0%) and 30.1% (95% CI 23.1%-37.1%) for heDMT and meDMT initiators, respectively (hazard ratio [HR] 0.53, 95% CI 0.33-0.83, = 0.006). Patients initiating heDMT also had a lower probability of a first relapse (HR 0.50, 95% CI 0.37-0.67). Results were similar after pairwise censoring and in subgroups with high baseline activity, diagnosis after 2006, or information on baseline T2 lesion load.

Conclusion: We found a lower probability of 6-month confirmed EDSS score worsening and lower probability of a first relapse in patients starting a heDMT as first therapy, compared to a matched sample starting meDMT.

Classification Of Evidence: This study provides Class III evidence that for patients with MS, starting heDMT lowers the risk of EDSS worsening and relapses compared to starting meDMT.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1212/WNL.0000000000010135DOI Listing
August 2020
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