Publications by authors named "Javier Olascoaga"

51 Publications

Effect of Disease-Modifying Therapy on Disability in Relapsing-Remitting Multiple Sclerosis Over 15 Years.

Neurology 2021 02 28;96(5):e783-e797. Epub 2020 Dec 28.

From CORe (T.K., I.D., S.S., C.M.), Department of Medicine, University of Melbourne; MS Centre (T.K., I.D., S.S., C.M.), Department of Neurology, Royal Melbourne Hospital, Australia; Karolinska Institute (T.S.), Stockholm, Sweden; Department of Neuroscience (T.S., V.J., A.v.d.W., O.S., H.B.), Central Clinical School, Monash University, Melbourne; Burnet Institute (T.S.), Melbourne, Australia; Department of Neurology and Center of Clinical Neuroscience (D.H., E.K.H.), General University Hospital and Charles University in Prague, Czech Republic; Department of Basic Medical Sciences, Neuroscience and Sense Organs (M. Trojano), University of Bari, Italy; Hospital Universitario Virgen Macarena (G.I.), Sevilla, Spain; Department of Neuroscience, Imaging and Clinical Sciences (A.L.), University "G. d'Annunzio," Chieti; Department of Biomedical and Neuromotor Sciences (A.L.), University of Bologna, IRCCS Istituto delle Scienze Neurologiche di Bologna, Italy; Hopital Notre Dame (A.P., M.G., P.D.), Montreal; CHUM and Universite de Montreal (A.P., M.G., P.D.); CISSS Chaudière-Appalache (P.G.), Levis, Canada; Department of Neurology (V.J., A.v.d.W., O.S., H.B.), Alfred Hospital, Melbourne, Australia; Neuro Rive-Sud (F. Grand'Maison), Quebec, Canada; Department of Neuroscience (P.S., D.F.), Azienda Ospedaliera Universitaria, Modena, Italy; Isfahan University of Medical Sciences (V.S.), Isfahan, Iran; Amiri Hospital (R. Alroughani), Kuwait City, Kuwait; Zuyderland Ziekenhuis (R.H.), Sittard, the Netherlands; Medical Faculty (M. Terzi), 19 Mayis University, Samsun; KTU Medical Faculty Farabi Hospital (C.B.), Karadeniz Technical University, Trabzon, Turkey; School of Medicine and Public Health (J.L.-S.), University Newcastle; Department of Neurology (J.L.-S.), John Hunter Hospital, Newcastle, Australia; UOC Neurologia (E.P.), Azienda Sanitaria Unica Regionale Marche-AV3, Macerata, Italy; Cliniques Universitaires Saint-Luc (V.V.P.), Brussels, Belgium; University of Parma (F. Granella); C. Mondino National Neurological Institute (R.B.), Pavia; Azienda Ospedaliera di Rilievo Nazionale San Giuseppe Moscati Avellino (D.S.), Italy; Flinders University (M. Slee), Adelaide; Westmead Hospital (S.V.), Sydney, Australia; Nemocnice Jihlava (R. Ampapa), Czech Republic; University of Queensland (P.M.), Brisbane; Royal Brisbane and Women's Hospital (P.M.), Brisbane, Australia; Hospital Germans Trias i Pujol (C.R.-T.), Badalona, Spain; CSSS Saint-Jérôme (J.P.), Canada; Hospital Universitario Donostia (J.O.), Paseo de Begiristain, San Sebastián, Spain; Hospital Italiano (E.C.), Buenos Aires, Argentina; Brain and Mind Centre (M.B.), University of Sydney, Australia; INEBA-Institute of Neuroscience Buenos Aires (M.L.S.), Argentina; Hospital de Galdakao-Usansolo (J.L.S.-M.), Galdakao, Spain; Liverpool Hospital (S. Hodgkinson), Sydney, Australia; Jahn Ferenc Teaching Hospital (C.R.), Budapest, Hungary; Craigavon Area Hospital (S. Hughes), UK; Jewish General Hospital (F.M.), Montreal, Canada; Deakin University (C.S.), Geelong; Monash Medical Centre (E.B.), Melbourne, Australia; South East Trust (O.G.), Belfast, UK; Perron Institute (A.K.), University of Western Australia, Nedlands; Institute of Immunology and Infectious Diseases (A.K.), Murdoch University; Sir Charles Gairdner Hospital (A.K.), Perth, Australia; Department of Neurology (T.C.), Faculty of Medicine, University of Debrecen, Hungary; Bombay Hospital Institute of Medical Sciences (B.S.), Mumbai, India; St Vincents Hospital (N.S.), Fitzroy, Melbourne, Australia; Veszprém Megyei Csolnoky Ferenc Kórház zrt (I.P.), Veszprem, Hungary; Royal Hobart Hospital (B.T.), Australia; Semmelweis University Budapest (M. Simo), Hungary; Central Military Emergency University Hospital (C.-A.S.), Bucharest; Titu Maiorescu University (C.-A.S.), Bucharest, Romania; BAZ County Hospital (A.S.), Miskolc, Hungary; and Box Hill Hospital (H.B.), Melbourne, Australia.

Objective: To test the hypothesis that immunotherapy prevents long-term disability in relapsing-remitting multiple sclerosis (MS), we modeled disability outcomes in 14,717 patients.

Methods: We studied patients from MSBase followed for ≥1 year, with ≥3 visits, ≥1 visit per year, and exposed to MS therapy, and a subset of patients with ≥15-year follow-up. Marginal structural models were used to compare the cumulative hazards of 12-month confirmed increase and decrease in disability, Expanded Disability Status Scale (EDSS) step 6, and the incidence of relapses between treated and untreated periods. Marginal structural models were continuously readjusted for patient age, sex, pregnancy, date, disease course, time from first symptom, prior relapse history, disability, and MRI activity.

Results: A total of 14,717 patients were studied. During the treated periods, patients were less likely to experience relapses (hazard ratio 0.60, 95% confidence interval [CI] 0.43-0.82, = 0.0016), worsening of disability (0.56, 0.38-0.82, = 0.0026), and progress to EDSS step 6 (0.33, 0.19-0.59, = 0.00019). Among 1,085 patients with ≥15-year follow-up, the treated patients were less likely to experience relapses (0.59, 0.50-0.70, = 10) and worsening of disability (0.81, 0.67-0.99, = 0.043).

Conclusion: Continued treatment with MS immunotherapies reduces disability accrual by 19%-44% (95% CI 1%-62%), the risk of need of a walking aid by 67% (95% CI 41%-81%), and the frequency of relapses by 40-41% (95% CI 18%-57%) over 15 years. This study provides evidence that disease-modifying therapies are effective in improving disability outcomes in relapsing-remitting MS over the long term.

Classification Of Evidence: This study provides Class IV evidence that, for patients with relapsing-remitting MS, long-term exposure to immunotherapy prevents neurologic disability.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1212/WNL.0000000000011242DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7884998PMC
February 2021

Delay from treatment start to full effect of immunotherapies for multiple sclerosis.

Brain 2020 09;143(9):2742-2756

CORe, Department of Medicine, University of Melbourne, Melbourne, 3050, Australia.

In multiple sclerosis, treatment start or switch is prompted by evidence of disease activity. Whilst immunomodulatory therapies reduce disease activity, the time required to attain maximal effect is unclear. In this study we aimed to develop a method that allows identification of the time to manifest fully and clinically the effect of multiple sclerosis treatments ('therapeutic lag') on clinical disease activity represented by relapses and progression-of-disability events. Data from two multiple sclerosis registries, MSBase (multinational) and OFSEP (French), were used. Patients diagnosed with multiple sclerosis, minimum 1-year exposure to treatment, minimum 3-year pretreatment follow-up and yearly review were included in the analysis. For analysis of disability progression, all events in the subsequent 5-year period were included. Density curves, representing incidence of relapses and 6-month confirmed progression events, were separately constructed for each sufficiently represented therapy. Monte Carlo simulations were performed to identify the first local minimum of the first derivative after treatment start; this point represented the point of stabilization of treatment effect, after the maximum treatment effect was observed. The method was developed in a discovery cohort (MSBase), and externally validated in a separate, non-overlapping cohort (OFSEP). A merged MSBase-OFSEP cohort was used for all subsequent analyses. Annualized relapse rates were compared in the time before treatment start and after the stabilization of treatment effect following commencement of each therapy. We identified 11 180 eligible treatment epochs for analysis of relapses and 4088 treatment epochs for disability progression. External validation was performed in four therapies, with no significant difference in the bootstrapped mean differences in therapeutic lag duration between registries. The duration of therapeutic lag for relapses was calculated for 10 therapies and ranged between 12 and 30 weeks. The duration of therapeutic lag for disability progression was calculated for seven therapies and ranged between 30 and 70 weeks. Significant differences in the pre- versus post-treatment annualized relapse rate were present for all therapies apart from intramuscular interferon beta-1a. In conclusion we have developed, and externally validated, a method to objectively quantify the duration of therapeutic lag on relapses and disability progression in different therapies in patients more than 3 years from multiple sclerosis onset. Objectively defined periods of expected therapeutic lag allows insights into the evaluation of treatment response in randomized clinical trials and may guide clinical decision-making in patients who experience early on-treatment disease activity. This method will subsequently be applied in studies that evaluate the effect of patient and disease characteristics on therapeutic lag.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/brain/awaa231DOI Listing
September 2020

Early clinical markers of aggressive multiple sclerosis.

Brain 2020 05;143(5):1400-1413

CORe Unit, Department of Medicine, University of Melbourne, Melbourne, Australia.

Patients with the 'aggressive' form of multiple sclerosis accrue disability at an accelerated rate, typically reaching Expanded Disability Status Score (EDSS) ≥ 6 within 10 years of symptom onset. Several clinicodemographic factors have been associated with aggressive multiple sclerosis, but less research has focused on clinical markers that are present in the first year of disease. The development of early predictive models of aggressive multiple sclerosis is essential to optimize treatment in this multiple sclerosis subtype. We evaluated whether patients who will develop aggressive multiple sclerosis can be identified based on early clinical markers. We then replicated this analysis in an independent cohort. Patient data were obtained from the MSBase observational study. Inclusion criteria were (i) first recorded disability score (EDSS) within 12 months of symptom onset; (ii) at least two recorded EDSS scores; and (iii) at least 10 years of observation time, based on time of last recorded EDSS score. Patients were classified as having 'aggressive multiple sclerosis' if all of the following criteria were met: (i) EDSS ≥ 6 reached within 10 years of symptom onset; (ii) EDSS ≥ 6 confirmed and sustained over ≥6 months; and (iii) EDSS ≥ 6 sustained until the end of follow-up. Clinical predictors included patient variables (sex, age at onset, baseline EDSS, disease duration at first visit) and recorded relapses in the first 12 months since disease onset (count, pyramidal signs, bowel-bladder symptoms, cerebellar signs, incomplete relapse recovery, steroid administration, hospitalization). Predictors were evaluated using Bayesian model averaging. Independent validation was performed using data from the Swedish Multiple Sclerosis Registry. Of the 2403 patients identified, 145 were classified as having aggressive multiple sclerosis (6%). Bayesian model averaging identified three statistical predictors: age > 35 at symptom onset, EDSS ≥ 3 in the first year, and the presence of pyramidal signs in the first year. This model significantly predicted aggressive multiple sclerosis [area under the curve (AUC) = 0.80, 95% confidence intervals (CIs): 0.75, 0.84, positive predictive value = 0.15, negative predictive value = 0.98]. The presence of all three signs was strongly predictive, with 32% of such patients meeting aggressive disease criteria. The absence of all three signs was associated with a 1.4% risk. Of the 556 eligible patients in the Swedish Multiple Sclerosis Registry cohort, 34 (6%) met criteria for aggressive multiple sclerosis. The combination of all three signs was also predictive in this cohort (AUC = 0.75, 95% CIs: 0.66, 0.84, positive predictive value = 0.15, negative predictive value = 0.97). Taken together, these findings suggest that older age at symptom onset, greater disability during the first year, and pyramidal signs in the first year are early indicators of aggressive multiple sclerosis.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/brain/awaa081DOI Listing
May 2020

Clinical and therapeutic predictors of disease outcomes in AQP4-IgG+ neuromyelitis optica spectrum disorder.

Mult Scler Relat Disord 2020 Feb 25;38:101868. Epub 2019 Nov 25.

CORe, Department of Medicine, University of Melbourne, Melbourne, Australia; Department of Neurology, Royal Melbourne Hospital, Melbourne, Australia; Department of Neurology, Royal Melbourne Hospital, Melbourne, Australia. Electronic address:

Background: Aquaporin-4-IgG positive (AQP4-IgG+) Neuromyelitis Optica Spectrum Disorder (NMOSD) is an uncommon central nervous system autoimmune disorder. Disease outcomes in AQP4-IgG+NMOSD are typically measured by relapse rate and disability. Using the MSBase, a multi-centre international registry, we aimed to examine the impact immunosuppressive therapies and patient characteristics as predictors of disease outcome measures in AQP4-IgG+NMOSD.

Method: This MSBase cohort study of AQP4-IgG+NMOSD patients examined modifiers of relapse in a multivariable proportional hazards model and expanded disability status score (EDSS) using a mixed effects model.

Results: 206 AQP4-IgG+ patients were included (median follow-up 3.7 years). Age (hazard ratio [HR] = 0.82 per decade, p = 0.001), brainstem onset (HR = 0.45, p = 0.009), azathioprine (HR = 0.46, p<0.001) and mycophenolate mofetil (HR = 0.09, p = 0.012) were associated with a reduced risk of relapse. A greater EDSS was associated with age (β = 0.45 (per decade), p<0.001) and disease duration (β = 0.07 per year, p<0.001). A slower increase in EDSS was associated with azathioprine (β = -0.48, p<0.001), mycophenolate mofetil (β = -0.69, p = 0.04) and rituximab (β = -0.35, p = 0.024).

Interpretation: This study has demonstrated that azathioprine and mycophenolate mofetil reduce the risk of relapses and disability progression is modified by azathioprine, mycophenolate mofetil and rituximab. Age and disease duration were the only patient characteristics that modified the risk of relapse and disability in our cohort.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.msard.2019.101868DOI Listing
February 2020

ABO blood group distributions in multiple sclerosis patients from Basque Country; O as a protective factor.

Mult Scler J Exp Transl Clin 2019 Oct-Dec;5(4):2055217319888957. Epub 2019 Nov 15.

Multiple sclerosis Group, Biodonostia Health Research Institute, Spain.

Background: The relation between ABO/Rh groups and multiple sclerosis (MS) has been proposed in several studies, however there is a controversy about the role of these groups in the disease. Although it has been reported that some groups can be protective or risk factors, there is no consensus and discordant reports can be found in the literature.

Objectives And Methodology: In this short report, we analyze the ABO/Rh distribution in a MS cohort of 265 patients and compare these frequencies with the results obtained from the Basque Blood Donors bank (17,796 individuals) of the same region.

Results And Conclusions: From our data, the absence of immune antigens (A, B or Rhesus +) defined by the group O- seems to be protective in the MS group with an odds ratio of 0.49 (95% confidence interval 0.309-0.796), while the presence of Rh+ plus A or B seems to be a risk in developing multiple sclerosis.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1177/2055217319888957DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6859684PMC
November 2019

Redefining the Multiple Sclerosis Severity Score (MSSS): The effect of sex and onset phenotype.

Mult Scler 2020 11 31;26(13):1765-1774. Epub 2019 Oct 31.

Menzies Institute for Medical Research, University of Tasmania, Hobart, TAS, Australia.

Background: The Multiple Sclerosis Severity Score (MSSS) is a widely used measure of the disability progression rate. However, the global MSSS may not be the best basis for comparison between all patient groups.

Objective: We evaluated sex-specific and onset phenotype-specific MSSS matrices to determine if they were more effective than the global MSSS as a basis for comparison within these subsets.

Methods: Using a large international dataset of multiple sclerosis (MS) patient records and the original MSSS algorithm, we constructed global, sex-specific and onset phenotype-specific MSSS matrices. We compared matrices using permutation analysis.

Results: Our final dataset included 30,203 MS cases, with 28.9% males and 6.5% progressive-onset cases. Our global MSSS matrix did not differ from previously published data ( > 0.05). The progressive-onset-specific matrix differed significantly from the relapsing-onset-specific matrix ( < 0.001), with lower MSSS attributed to cases with the same Expanded Disability Status Score (EDSS) and disease duration. When evaluated with a simulation, using an onset-specific MSSS improved statistical power in mixed cohorts. There were no significant differences by sex.

Conclusion: The differences in the disability accrual rate between progressive- and relapsing-onset MS have a significant effect on MSSS. An onset-specific MSSS should be used when comparing the rate of disability progression among progressive-onset cases and for mixed cohorts.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1177/1352458519881994DOI Listing
November 2020

Risk of secondary progressive multiple sclerosis: A longitudinal study.

Mult Scler 2020 01 9;26(1):79-90. Epub 2019 Aug 9.

CORe, Department of Medicine, The University of Melbourne, Melbourne, VIC, Australia/Department of Neurology, Royal Melbourne Hospital, Melbourne, VIC, Australia/L4 Centre, Melbourne Brain Centre at Royal Melbourne Hospital, Parkville, VIC, Australia.

Background: The risk factors for conversion from relapsing-remitting to secondary progressive multiple sclerosis remain highly contested.

Objective: The aim of this study was to determine the demographic, clinical and paraclinical features that influence the risk of conversion to secondary progressive multiple sclerosis.

Methods: Patients with adult-onset relapsing-remitting multiple sclerosis and at least four recorded disability scores were selected from MSBase, a global observational cohort. The risk of conversion to objectively defined secondary progressive multiple sclerosis was evaluated at multiple time points per patient using multivariable marginal Cox regression models. Sensitivity analyses were performed.

Results: A total of 15,717 patients were included in the primary analysis. Older age (hazard ratio (HR) = 1.02,  < 0.001), longer disease duration (HR = 1.01,  = 0.038), a higher Expanded Disability Status Scale score (HR = 1.30,  < 0.001), more rapid disability trajectory (HR = 2.82,  < 0.001) and greater number of relapses in the previous year (HR = 1.07,  = 0.010) were independently associated with an increased risk of secondary progressive multiple sclerosis. Improving disability (HR = 0.62,  = 0.039) and disease-modifying therapy exposure (HR = 0.71,  = 0.007) were associated with a lower risk. Recent cerebral magnetic resonance imaging activity, evidence of spinal cord lesions and oligoclonal bands in the cerebrospinal fluid were not associated with the risk of conversion.

Conclusion: Risk of secondary progressive multiple sclerosis increases with age, duration of illness and worsening disability and decreases with improving disability. Therapy may delay the onset of secondary progression.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1177/1352458519868990DOI Listing
January 2020

Incidence of pregnancy and disease-modifying therapy exposure trends in women with multiple sclerosis: A contemporary cohort study.

Mult Scler Relat Disord 2019 Feb 3;28:235-243. Epub 2019 Jan 3.

Department of Neuroscience, Central Clinical School, Monash University, Melbourne, Australia; Department of Neurology, Alfred Hospital, Melbourne, Australia; Department of Medicine (Royal Melbourne Hospital), University of Melbourne, Melbourne, Australia. Electronic address:

Background: Exposure to disease-modifying therapy (DMT) during early pregnancy in women with relapsing-remitting MS (RRMS) may be increasing.

Objective: To retrospectively determine incidence of pregnancy, DMT exposure and pregnancy outcomes in women with RRMS.

Methods: We identified all women with RRMS aged 15-45 years in the MSBase Registry between 2005-2016. Annualised pregnancy incidence rates were calculated using Poisson regression models. DMT exposures and pregnancy outcomes were assessed.

Results: Of 9,098 women meeting inclusion criteria, 1,178 (13%) women recorded 1,521 pregnancies. The annualised incidence rate of pregnancy was 0.042 (95% CI 0.040, 0.045). A total of 635 (42%) reported pregnancies were conceived on DMT, increasing from 27% in 2006 to 62% in 2016. The median duration of DMT exposure during pregnancy was 30 days (IQR: 9, 50). There were a higher number of induced abortions on FDA pregnancy class C/D drugs compared with pregnancy class B and no DMT (p = 0.010); but no differences in spontaneous abortions, term or preterm births.

Conclusions: We report low pregnancy incidence rates, with increasing number of pregnancies conceived on DMT over the past 12-years. The median duration of DMT exposure in pregnancy was relatively short at one month.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.msard.2019.01.003DOI Listing
February 2019

The First Dose of Fingolimod Affects Circulating Extracellular Vesicles in Multiple Sclerosis Patients.

Int J Mol Sci 2018 Aug 19;19(8). Epub 2018 Aug 19.

Multiple Sclerosis Unit, Biodonostia Health Research Institute-Donostia University Hospital, 20014 San Sebastian, Spain.

Extracellular vesicles (EVs) are membrane-bound particles involved in intercellular communication. They carry proteins, lipids, and nucleotides such as microRNAs (miRNAs) from the secreting cell that can modulate target cells. We and others have previously described the presence of EVs in peripheral blood of multiple sclerosis (MS) patients and postulated them as novel biomarkers. However, their immune function in MS pathogenesis and the effect during the onset of new immunomodulatory therapies on EVs remain elusive. Here, we isolated plasma EVs from fingolimod-treated MS patients in order to assess whether EVs are affected by the first dose of the treatment. We quantified EVs, analyzed their miRNA cargo, and checked their immune regulatory function. Results showed an elevated EV concentration with a dramatic change in their miRNA cargo 5 h after the first dose of fingolimod. Besides, EVs obtained prior to fingolimod treatment showed an increased immune regulatory activity compared to EVs obtained 5 h post-treatment. This work suggests that EVs are implicated in the mechanism of action of immunomodulatory treatments from the initial hours and opens a new avenue to explore a potential use of EVs for early treatment monitoring.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.3390/ijms19082448DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6121302PMC
August 2018

Different clinical response to interferon beta and glatiramer acetate related to the presence of oligoclonal IgM bands in CSF in multiple sclerosis patients.

Neurol Sci 2018 Aug 7;39(8):1423-1430. Epub 2018 Jun 7.

Neuroimmunology Unit, Hospital Clínic Universitari de València, Valencia, Spain.

Objective: To study the efficacy of interferon beta (IFNβ) and glatiramer acetate (GA) related to the presence of oligoclonal M bands (OCMB) in the cerebrospinal fluid in relapsing-remitting multiple sclerosis (RRMS).

Method: This is an observational, multicenter and retrospective study with prospectively collected data of patients that started treatment with IFNβ or GA. Treatment decision was made blinded to the OCMB status. Time to first attack after starting therapy was compared by using Kaplan-Meier curves, and adjustment by Cox regression analysis was performed.

Results: Two hundred and fifty-six patients entered in the study (141-55% received IFNβ; 115-45% received GA). After a mean follow-up of 41 and 65 months, 54.7% of patients remained free from further attacks (RF). The proportion of RF patients was higher in the GA group than in the IFNβ group (72.2 vs. 40.4%, p < 0.001). The IFNβ patients with OCMB+ presented the poorest response, 31.3% RF vs. 48.1% in IFNβ without OCMB, p = 0.03.

Conclusion: OCMB in CSF could be a biomarker of treatment response in multiple sclerosis.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/s10072-018-3442-yDOI Listing
August 2018

Lymphocyte count in peripheral blood is not associated with the level of clinical response to treatment with fingolimod.

Mult Scler Relat Disord 2018 Jan 22;19:105-108. Epub 2017 Nov 22.

Box Hill Hospital, Eastern Health, Melbourne, Australia.

Background: Fingolimod is an efficient and safe drug for treating relapsing-remitting multiple sclerosis (RRMS). In vivo, fingolimod is phosphorylated and binds to "sphingosine-1-phosphate"(S1P) receptors that are expressed in a wide range of cells, including lymphocytes. Under the effect of fingolimod, lymphocytes are retained in lymphoid tissues through the regulation of S1P receptors. The aim of the present study was to assess whether the degree of lymphopenia was correlated to the positive treatment response of RRMS patients with fingolimod.

Methods: Data was sourced from the MSBase Registry. Patients were divided into two groups, according to the lymphocyte count on peripheral blood examination. Annualized Relapse Rate (ARR), time to first relapse and time to six-month confirmed disability progression were compared between groups.

Results: Group one consisted of 202 patients who reached 750 lymphocytes/mm during treatment while the comparison group two included 101 patients who never reached less than 1000 lymphocytes/mm in peripheral blood during the observation period. There were no differences between groups in ARR, time to first relapse or time to six-month confirmed disability progression.

Conclusion: The degree of lymphopenia in peripheral blood was not associated to the positive treatment response of fingolimod in RRMS patients.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.msard.2017.11.018DOI Listing
January 2018

Towards personalized therapy for multiple sclerosis: prediction of individual treatment response.

Brain 2017 Sep;140(9):2426-2443

Department of Neurology, Royal Melbourne Hospital, 300 Grattan St, Melbourne, 3050, Australia.

Timely initiation of effective therapy is crucial for preventing disability in multiple sclerosis; however, treatment response varies greatly among patients. Comprehensive predictive models of individual treatment response are lacking. Our aims were: (i) to develop predictive algorithms for individual treatment response using demographic, clinical and paraclinical predictors in patients with multiple sclerosis; and (ii) to evaluate accuracy, and internal and external validity of these algorithms. This study evaluated 27 demographic, clinical and paraclinical predictors of individual response to seven disease-modifying therapies in MSBase, a large global cohort study. Treatment response was analysed separately for disability progression, disability regression, relapse frequency, conversion to secondary progressive disease, change in the cumulative disease burden, and the probability of treatment discontinuation. Multivariable survival and generalized linear models were used, together with the principal component analysis to reduce model dimensionality and prevent overparameterization. Accuracy of the individual prediction was tested and its internal validity was evaluated in a separate, non-overlapping cohort. External validity was evaluated in a geographically distinct cohort, the Swedish Multiple Sclerosis Registry. In the training cohort (n = 8513), the most prominent modifiers of treatment response comprised age, disease duration, disease course, previous relapse activity, disability, predominant relapse phenotype and previous therapy. Importantly, the magnitude and direction of the associations varied among therapies and disease outcomes. Higher probability of disability progression during treatment with injectable therapies was predominantly associated with a greater disability at treatment start and the previous therapy. For fingolimod, natalizumab or mitoxantrone, it was mainly associated with lower pretreatment relapse activity. The probability of disability regression was predominantly associated with pre-baseline disability, therapy and relapse activity. Relapse incidence was associated with pretreatment relapse activity, age and relapsing disease course, with the strength of these associations varying among therapies. Accuracy and internal validity (n = 1196) of the resulting predictive models was high (>80%) for relapse incidence during the first year and for disability outcomes, moderate for relapse incidence in Years 2-4 and for the change in the cumulative disease burden, and low for conversion to secondary progressive disease and treatment discontinuation. External validation showed similar results, demonstrating high external validity for disability and relapse outcomes, moderate external validity for cumulative disease burden and low external validity for conversion to secondary progressive disease and treatment discontinuation. We conclude that demographic, clinical and paraclinical information helps predict individual response to disease-modifying therapies at the time of their commencement.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/brain/awx185DOI Listing
September 2017

Circular RNA profiling reveals that circular RNAs from ANXA2 can be used as new biomarkers for multiple sclerosis.

Hum Mol Genet 2017 09;26(18):3564-3572

Multiple Sclerosis Unit, Neurosciences Area, Biodonostia Health Research Institute, 20014, San Sebastián, Spain.

Multiple sclerosis is an autoimmune disease, with higher prevalence in women, in whom the immune system is dysregulated. This dysregulation has been shown to correlate with changes in transcriptome expression as well as in gene-expression regulators, such as non-coding RNAs (e.g. microRNAs). Indeed, some of these have been suggested as biomarkers for multiple sclerosis even though few biomarkers have reached the clinical practice. Recently, a novel family of non-coding RNAs, circular RNAs, has emerged as a new player in the complex network of gene-expression regulation. MicroRNA regulation function through a 'sponge system' and a RNA splicing regulation function have been proposed for the circular RNAs. This regulating role together with their high stability in biofluids makes them seemingly good candidates as biomarkers. Given the dysregulation of both protein-coding and non-coding transcriptome that have been reported in multiple sclerosis patients, we hypothesised that circular RNA expression may also be altered. Therefore, we carried out expression profiling of 13.617 circular RNAs in peripheral blood leucocytes from multiple sclerosis patients and healthy controls finding 406 differentially expressed (P-value < 0.05, Fold change > 1.5) and demonstrate after validation that, circ_0005402 and circ_0035560 are underexpressed in multiple sclerosis patients and could be used as biomarkers of the disease.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/hmg/ddx243DOI Listing
September 2017

Progressive changes in non-coding RNA profile in leucocytes with age.

Aging (Albany NY) 2017 04;9(4):1202-1218

Multiple Sclerosis Group, Biodonostia Health Research institute, San Sebastian, Spain.

It has been observed that immune cell deterioration occurs in the elderly, as well as a chronic low-grade inflammation called inflammaging. These cellular changes must be driven by numerous changes in gene expression and in fact, both protein-coding and non-coding RNA expression alterations have been observed in peripheral blood mononuclear cells from elder people. In the present work we have studied the expression of small non-coding RNA (microRNA and small nucleolar RNA -snoRNA-) from healthy individuals from 24 to 79 years old. We have observed that the expression of 69 non-coding RNAs (56 microRNAs and 13 snoRNAs) changes progressively with chronological age. According to our results, the age range from 47 to 54 is critical given that it is the period when the expression trend (increasing or decreasing) of age-related small non-coding RNAs is more pronounced. Furthermore, age-related miRNAs regulate genes that are involved in immune, cell cycle and cancer-related processes, which had already been associated to human aging. Therefore, human aging could be studied as a result of progressive molecular changes, and different age ranges should be analysed to cover the whole aging process.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.18632/aging.101220DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5425122PMC
April 2017

Bilateral Retrobulbar Optic Neuropathy Associated With Golimumab.

Clin Neuropharmacol 2017 May/Jun;40(3):149-151

Departments of *Ophthalmology, †Neurology, and ‡Rheumatology, Donostia University Hospital, Spain.

We report the first documented case of retrobulbar optic neuropathy associated with golimumab. A 48-year-old man was admitted with a 3-week history of progressive visual loss of his left eye. He had received a second infusion of golimumab for ankylosing spondylitis 10 days before admission. A magnetic resonance imaging scan showed enhancement of both optic nerves and visual evoked potentials were consistent with demyelinating bilateral optic neuropathy, although visual acuity drop in the right eye could not be determined because of deep amblyopia. No improvement was observed after golimumab dechallenge or corticosteroid treatment. Demyelinating complications related to treatment with tumor necrosis factor alpha inhibitors (TNFAI) have been previously described. Golimumab, a fully human monoclonal antibody, is the most recently developed TNFAI and thus, fewer adverse effects have been reported. Further studies should be developed to elucidate if variability in golimumab's pharmacokinetics or TNF receptor binding affinity could explain different safety profiles compared with other TNFAI.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1097/WNF.0000000000000211DOI Listing
March 2018

Treatment effectiveness of alemtuzumab compared with natalizumab, fingolimod, and interferon beta in relapsing-remitting multiple sclerosis: a cohort study.

Lancet Neurol 2017 04 11;16(4):271-281. Epub 2017 Feb 11.

Department of Clinical Neurosciences, University of Cambridge, Cambridge, UK.

Background: Alemtuzumab, an anti-CD52 antibody, is proven to be more efficacious than interferon beta-1a in the treatment of relapsing-remitting multiple sclerosis, but its efficacy relative to more potent immunotherapies is unknown. We compared the effectiveness of alemtuzumab with natalizumab, fingolimod, and interferon beta in patients with relapsing-remitting multiple sclerosis treated for up to 5 years.

Methods: In this international cohort study, we used data from propensity-matched patients with relapsing-remitting multiple sclerosis from the MSBase and six other cohorts. Longitudinal clinical data were obtained from 71 MSBase centres in 21 countries and from six non-MSBase centres in the UK and Germany between Nov 1, 2015, and June 30, 2016. Key inclusion criteria were a diagnosis of definite relapsing-remitting multiple sclerosis, exposure to one of the study therapies (alemtuzumab, interferon beta, fingolimod, or natalizumab), age 65 years or younger, Expanded Disability Status Scale (EDSS) score 6·5 or lower, and no more than 10 years since the first multiple sclerosis symptom. The primary endpoint was annualised relapse rate. The secondary endpoints were cumulative hazards of relapses, disability accumulation, and disability improvement events. We compared relapse rates with negative binomial models, and estimated cumulative hazards with conditional proportional hazards models.

Findings: Patients were treated between Aug 1, 1994, and June 30, 2016. The cohorts consisted of 189 patients given alemtuzumab, 2155 patients given interferon beta, 828 patients given fingolimod, and 1160 patients given natalizumab. Alemtuzumab was associated with a lower annualised relapse rate than interferon beta (0·19 [95% CI 0·14-0·23] vs 0·53 [0·46-0·61], p<0·0001) and fingolimod (0·15 [0·10-0·20] vs 0·34 [0·26-0·41], p<0·0001), and was associated with a similar annualised relapse rate as natalizumab (0·20 [0·14-0·26] vs 0·19 [0·15-0·23], p=0·78). For the disability outcomes, alemtuzumab was associated with similar probabilities of disability accumulation as interferon beta (hazard ratio [HR] 0·66 [95% CI 0·36-1·22], p=0·37), fingolimod (1·27 [0·60-2·70], p=0·67), and natalizumab (0·81 [0·47-1·39], p=0·60). Alemtuzumab was associated with similar probabilities of disability improvement as interferon beta (0·98 [0·65-1·49], p=0·93) and fingolimod (0·50 [0·25-1·01], p=0·18), and a lower probability of disability improvement than natalizumab (0·35 [0·20-0·59], p=0·0006).

Interpretation: Alemtuzumab and natalizumab seem to have similar effects on annualised relapse rates in relapsing-remitting multiple sclerosis. Alemtuzumab seems superior to fingolimod and interferon beta in mitigating relapse activity. Natalizumab seems superior to alemtuzumab in enabling recovery from disability. Both natalizumab and alemtuzumab seem highly effective and viable immunotherapies for multiple sclerosis. Treatment decisions between alemtuzumab and natalizumab should be primarily governed by their safety profiles.

Funding: National Health and Medical Research Council, and the University of Melbourne.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/S1474-4422(17)30007-8DOI Listing
April 2017

Highly active immunomodulatory therapy ameliorates accumulation of disability in moderately advanced and advanced multiple sclerosis.

J Neurol Neurosurg Psychiatry 2017 Mar 28;88(3):196-203. Epub 2016 Sep 28.

Department of Medicine, University of Melbourne, Melbourne, Australia.

Objective: To evaluate variability and predictability of disability trajectories in moderately advanced and advanced multiple sclerosis (MS), and their modifiability with immunomodulatory therapy.

Methods: The epochs between Expanded Disability Status Scale (EDSS) steps 3-6, 4-6 and 6-6.5 were analysed. Patients with relapse-onset MS and having reached 6-month confirmed baseline EDSS step (3/4/6) were identified in MSBase, a global observational MS cohort study. We used multivariable survival models to examine the impact of disease-modifying therapy, clinical and demographic factors on progression to the outcome EDSS step (6/6.5). Sensitivity analyses with varying outcome definitions and inclusion criteria were conducted.

Results: For the EDSS 3-6, 4-6 and 6-6.5 epochs, 1560, 1504 and 1231 patients were identified, respectively. Disability trajectories showed large coefficients of variance prebaseline (0.92-1.11) and postbaseline (2.15-2.50), with no significant correlations. The probability of reaching the outcome step was not associated with prebaseline variables, but was increased by higher relapse rates during each epoch (HRs 1.58-3.07; p<0.001). A greater proportion of each epoch treated with higher efficacy therapies was associated with lower risk of reaching the outcome disability step (HRs 0.72-0.91 per 25%; p≤0.02). 3 sensitivity analyses confirmed these results.

Conclusions: Disease progression during moderately advanced and advanced MS is highly variable and amnesic to prior disease activity. Lower relapse rates and greater time on higher efficacy immunomodulatory therapy after reaching EDSS steps 3, 4 and 6 are associated with a decreased risk of accumulating further disability. Highly effective immunomodulatory therapy ameliorates accumulation of disability in moderately advanced and advanced relapse-onset MS.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1136/jnnp-2016-313976DOI Listing
March 2017

Defining secondary progressive multiple sclerosis.

Brain 2016 09 7;139(Pt 9):2395-405. Epub 2016 Jul 7.

1 Department of Medicine, University of Melbourne, Melbourne, Australia 2 Department of Neurology, Royal Melbourne Hospital, Melbourne, Australia.

A number of studies have been conducted with the onset of secondary progressive multiple sclerosis as an inclusion criterion or an outcome of interest. However, a standardized objective definition of secondary progressive multiple sclerosis has been lacking. The aim of this work was to evaluate the accuracy and feasibility of an objective definition for secondary progressive multiple sclerosis, to enable comparability of future research studies. Using MSBase, a large, prospectively acquired, global cohort study, we analysed the accuracy of 576 data-derived onset definitions for secondary progressive multiple sclerosis and first compared these to a consensus opinion of three neurologists. All definitions were then evaluated against 5-year disease outcomes post-assignment of secondary progressive multiple sclerosis: sustained disability, subsequent sustained progression, positive disability trajectory, and accumulation of severe disability. The five best performing definitions were further investigated for their timeliness and overall disability burden. A total of 17 356 patients were analysed. The best definition included a 3-strata progression magnitude in the absence of a relapse, confirmed after 3 months within the leading Functional System and required an Expanded Disability Status Scale step ≥4 and pyramidal score ≥2. It reached an accuracy of 87% compared to the consensus diagnosis. Seventy-eight per cent of the identified patients showed a positive disability trajectory and 70% reached significant disability after 5 years. The time until half of all patients were diagnosed was 32.6 years (95% confidence interval 32-33.6) after disease onset compared with the physicians' diagnosis at 36 (35-39) years. The identified patients experienced a greater disease burden [median annualized area under the disability-time curve 4.7 (quartiles 3.6, 6.0)] versus non-progressive patients [1.8 (1.2, 1.9)]. This objective definition of secondary progressive multiple sclerosis based on the Expanded Disability Status Scale and information about preceding relapses provides a tool for a reproducible, accurate and timely diagnosis that requires a very short confirmation period. If applied broadly, the definition has the potential to strengthen the design and improve comparability of clinical trials and observational studies in secondary progressive multiple sclerosis.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/brain/aww173DOI Listing
September 2016

Predictors of long-term disability accrual in relapse-onset multiple sclerosis.

Ann Neurol 2016 07 1;80(1):89-100. Epub 2016 Jun 1.

Department of Basic Medical Sciences, Neuroscience and Sense Organs, University of Bari, Bari, Italy.

Objective: To identify predictors of 10-year Expanded Disability Status Scale (EDSS) change after treatment initiation in patients with relapse-onset multiple sclerosis.

Methods: Using data obtained from MSBase, we defined baseline as the date of first injectable therapy initiation. Patients need only have remained on injectable therapy for 1 day and were monitored on any approved disease-modifying therapy, or no therapy thereafter. Median EDSS score changes over a 10-year period were determined. Predictors of EDSS change were then assessed using median quantile regression analysis. Sensitivity analyses were further performed.

Results: We identified 2,466 patients followed up for at least 10 years reporting post-baseline disability scores. Patients were treated an average 83% of their follow-up time. EDSS scores increased by a median 1 point (interquartile range = 0-2) at 10 years post-baseline. Annualized relapse rate was highly predictive of increases in median EDSS over 10 years (coeff = 1.14, p = 1.9 × 10(-22) ). On-therapy relapses carried greater burden than off-therapy relapses. Cumulative treatment exposure was independently associated with lower EDSS at 10 years (coeff = -0.86, p = 1.3 × 10(-9) ). Furthermore, pregnancies were also independently associated with lower EDSS scores over the 10-year observation period (coeff = -0.36, p = 0.009).

Interpretation: We provide evidence of long-term treatment benefit in a large registry cohort, and provide evidence of long-term protective effects of pregnancy against disability accrual. We demonstrate that high annualized relapse rate, particularly on-treatment relapse, is an indicator of poor prognosis. Ann Neurol 2016;80:89-100.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1002/ana.24682DOI Listing
July 2016

Neuromyelitis optica spectrum disorders: Comparison according to the phenotype and serostatus.

Neurol Neuroimmunol Neuroinflamm 2016 Jun 14;3(3):e225. Epub 2016 Apr 14.

Authors' affiliations are listed at the end of the article.

Objective: To (1) determine the value of the recently proposed criteria of neuromyelitis optica (NMO) spectrum disorder (NMOSD) that unify patients with NMO and those with limited forms (NMO/LF) with aquaporin-4 immunoglobulin G (AQP4-IgG) antibodies; and (2) investigate the clinical significance of the serologic status in patients with NMO.

Methods: This was a retrospective, multicenter study of 181 patients fulfilling the 2006 NMO criteria (n = 127) or NMO/LF criteria with AQP4-IgG (n = 54). AQP4-IgG and myelin oligodendrocyte glycoprotein immunoglobulin G (MOG-IgG) antibodies were tested using cell-based assays.

Results: Patients were mainly white (86%) and female (ratio 6.5:1) with median age at onset 39 years (range 10-77). Compared to patients with NMO and AQP4-IgG (n = 94), those with NMO/LF presented more often with longitudinally extensive transverse myelitis (LETM) (p < 0.001), and had lower relapse rates (p = 0.015), but similar disability outcomes. Nonwhite ethnicity and optic neuritis presentation doubled the risk for developing NMO compared with white race (p = 0.008) or LETM presentation (p = 0.008). Nonwhite race (hazard ratio [HR] 4.3, 95% confidence interval [CI] 1.4-13.6) and older age at onset were associated with worse outcome (for every 10-year increase, HR 1.7, 95% CI 1.3-2.2). Patients with NMO and MOG-IgG (n = 9) had lower female:male ratio (0.8:1) and better disability outcome than AQP4-IgG-seropositive or double-seronegative patients (p < 0.001).

Conclusions: In patients with AQP4-IgG, the similar outcomes regardless of the clinical phenotype support the unified term NMOSD; nonwhite ethnicity and older age at onset are associated with worse outcome. Double-seronegative and AQP4-IgG-seropositive NMO have a similar clinical outcome. The better prognosis of patients with MOG-IgG and NMO suggests that phenotypic and serologic classification is useful.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1212/NXI.0000000000000225DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4841645PMC
June 2016

Contribution of different relapse phenotypes to disability in multiple sclerosis.

Mult Scler 2017 Feb 11;23(2):266-276. Epub 2016 Jul 11.

Department of Medicine, The University of Melbourne, Melbourne, VIC, Australia/Department of Neurology, Melbourne Brain Centre at Royal Melbourne Hospital, Parkville, VIC, Australia.

Objective: This study evaluated the effect of relapse phenotype on disability accumulation in multiple sclerosis.

Methods: Analysis of prospectively collected data was conducted in 19,504 patients with relapse-onset multiple sclerosis and minimum 1-year prospective follow-up from the MSBase cohort study. Multivariable linear regression models assessed associations between relapse incidence, phenotype and changes in disability (quantified with Expanded Disability Status Scale and its Functional System scores). Sensitivity analyses were conducted.

Results: In 34,858 relapses recorded during 136,462 patient-years (median follow-up 5.9 years), higher relapse incidence was associated with greater disability accumulation (β = 0.16, p < 0.001). Relapses of all phenotypes promoted disability accumulation, with the most pronounced increase associated with pyramidal (β = 0.27 (0.25-0.29)), cerebellar (β = 0.35 (0.30-0.39)) and bowel/bladder (β = 0.42 (0.35-0.49)) phenotypes (mean (95% confidence interval)). Higher incidence of each relapse phenotype was associated with an increase in disability in the corresponding neurological domain, as well as anatomically related domains.

Conclusion: Relapses are associated with accumulation of neurological disability. Relapses in pyramidal, cerebellar and bowel/bladder systems have the greatest association with disability change. Therefore, prevention of these relapses is an important objective of disease-modifying therapy. The differential impact of relapse phenotypes on disability outcomes could influence management of treatment failure in multiple sclerosis.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1177/1352458516643392DOI Listing
February 2017

SncRNA (microRNA &snoRNA) opposite expression pattern found in multiple sclerosis relapse and remission is sex dependent.

Sci Rep 2016 Feb 1;6:20126. Epub 2016 Feb 1.

Biodonostia Institute, Neuroscience Area, Multiple Sclerosis Group, San Sebastian, Spain.

Multiple sclerosis (MS) is a common inflammatory and degenerative disease that causes neurological disability. It affects young adults and its prevalence is higher in women. The most common form is manifested as a series of acute episodes of neurological disability (relapses) followed by a recovery phase (remission). Recently, non-coding RNAs have emerged as new players in transcriptome regulation, and in turn, they could have a significant role in MS pathogenesis. In this context, our aim was to investigate the involvement of microRNAs and snoRNAs in the relapse-remission dynamics of MS in peripheral blood leucocytes, to shed light on the molecular and regulatory mechanisms that underlie this complex process. With this approach, we found that a subset of small non-coding RNAs (sncRNA) is altered in relapse and remission, revealing unexpected opposite changes that are sex dependent. Furthermore, we found that a relapse-related miRNA signature regulated general metabolism processes in leucocytes, and miRNA altered in remission are involved in the regulation of innate immunity. We observed that sncRNA dysregulation is different in relapse and remission leading to differences in transcriptome regulation, and that this process is sex dependent. In conclusion, relapse and remission have a different molecular background in men and women.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1038/srep20126DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4735588PMC
February 2016

Age gene expression and coexpression progressive signatures in peripheral blood leukocytes.

Exp Gerontol 2015 Dec 8;72:50-6. Epub 2015 Sep 8.

Multiple Sclerosis and Neuromuscular Diseases Groups, Neurosciences Area, Biodonostia Health Research Institute, Donostia/San Sebastián, Spain; Neurology Department, Donostia University Hospital, Donostia/San Sebastián, Spain. Electronic address:

Both cellular senescence and organismic aging are known to be dynamic processes that start early in life and progress constantly during the whole life of the individual. In this work, with the objective of identifying signatures of age-related progressive change at the transcriptomic level, we have performed a whole-genome gene expression analysis of peripheral blood leukocytes in a group of healthy individuals with ages ranging from 14 to 93 years. A set of genes with progressively changing gene expression (either increase or decrease with age) has been identified and contextualized in a coexpression network. A modularity analysis has been performed on this network and biological-term and pathway enrichment analyses have been used for biological interpretation of each module. In summary, the results of the present work reveal the existence of a transcriptomic component that shows progressive expression changes associated to age in peripheral blood leukocytes, highlighting both the dynamic nature of the process and the need to complement young vs. elder studies with longitudinal studies that include middle aged individuals. From the transcriptional point of view, immunosenescence seems to be occurring from a relatively early age, at least from the late 20s/early 30s, and the 49-56 year old age-range appears to be critical. In general, the genes that, according to our results, show progressive expression changes with aging are involved in pathogenic/cellular processes that have classically been linked to aging in humans: cancer, immune processes and cellular growth vs. maintenance.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.exger.2015.09.003DOI Listing
December 2015

A functional variant that affects exon-skipping and protein expression of SP140 as genetic mechanism predisposing to multiple sclerosis.

Hum Mol Genet 2015 Oct 7;24(19):5619-27. Epub 2015 Jul 7.

Department of Cell Biology and Immunology, Instituto de Parasitología y Biomedicina López Neyra (IPBLN), CSIC, Granada, Spain,

Several variants in strong linkage disequilibrium (LD) at the SP140 locus have been associated with multiple sclerosis (MS), Crohn's disease (CD) and chronic lymphocytic leukemia (CLL). To determine the causal polymorphism, we have integrated high-density data sets of expression quantitative trait loci (eQTL), using GEUVADIS RNA sequences and 1000 Genomes genotypes, with MS-risk variants of the high-density Immunochip array performed by the International Multiple Sclerosis Genetic Consortium (IMSGC). The variants most associated with MS were also correlated with a decreased expression of the full-length RNA isoform of SP140 and an increase of an isoform lacking exon 7. By exon splicing assay, we have demonstrated that the rs28445040 variant was the causal factor for skipping of exon 7. Western blots of peripheral blood mononuclear cells from MS patients showed a significant allele-dependent reduction of the SP140 protein expression. To confirm the association of this functional variant with MS and to compare it with the best-associated variant previously reported by GWAS (rs10201872), a case-control study including 4384 MS patients and 3197 controls was performed. Both variants, in strong LD (r(2) = 0.93), were found similarly associated with MS [P-values, odds ratios: 1.9E-9, OR = 1.35 (1.22-1.49) and 4.9E-10, OR = 1.37 (1.24-1.51), respectively]. In conclusion, our data uncover the causal variant for the SP140 locus and the molecular mechanism associated with MS risk. In addition, this study and others previously reported strongly suggest that this functional variant may be shared with other immune-mediated diseases as CD and CLL.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/hmg/ddv256DOI Listing
October 2015

Identification of ncRNAs as potential therapeutic targets in multiple sclerosis through differential ncRNA - mRNA network analysis.

BMC Genomics 2015 Mar 28;16:250. Epub 2015 Mar 28.

Multiple Sclerosis group, Biodonostia Health Research Institute, Paseo Dr. Begiristain s/n, San Sebastián, 20001, Spain.

Background: Several studies have revealed a potential role for both small nucleolar RNAs (snoRNAs) and microRNAs (miRNAs) in the physiopathology of relapsing-remitting multiple sclerosis (RRMS). This potential implication has been mainly described through differential expression studies. However, it has been suggested that, in order to extract additional information from large-scale expression experiments, differential expression studies must be complemented with differential network studies. Thus, the present work is aimed at the identification of potential therapeutic ncRNA targets for RRMS through differential network analysis of ncRNA - mRNA coexpression networks. ncRNA - mRNA coexpression networks have been constructed from both selected ncRNA (specifically miRNAs, snoRNAs and sdRNAs) and mRNA large-scale expression data obtained from 22 patients in relapse, the same 22 patients in remission and 22 healthy controls. Condition-specific (relapse, remission and healthy) networks have been built and compared to identify the parts of the system most affected by perturbation and aid the identification of potential therapeutic targets among the ncRNAs.

Results: All the coexpression networks we built present a scale-free topology and many snoRNAs are shown to have a prominent role in their architecture. The differential network analysis (relapse vs. remission vs. controls' networks) has revealed that, although both network topology and the majority of the genes are maintained, few ncRNA - mRNA links appear in more than one network. We have selected as potential therapeutic targets the ncRNAs that appear in the disease-specific network and were found to be differentially expressed in a previous study.

Conclusions: Our results suggest that the diseased state of RRMS has a strong impact on the ncRNA - mRNA network of peripheral blood leukocytes, as a massive rewiring of the network happens between conditions. Our findings also indicate that the role snoRNAs have in targeted gene silencing is a widespread phenomenon. Finally, among the potential therapeutic target ncRNAs, SNORA40 seems to be the most promising candidate.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1186/s12864-015-1396-5DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4391585PMC
March 2015

Ventricular tachycardia on chronic fingolimod treatment for multiple sclerosis.

J Neurol Neurosurg Psychiatry 2015 Aug 2;86(8):931-2. Epub 2015 Apr 2.

Multiple Sclerosis Unit, Department of Neurology, Donostia University Hospital, San Sebastian, Spain Department of Neuroscience Area, Biodonostia Research Institute, San Sebastian, Spain.

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http://dx.doi.org/10.1136/jnnp-2014-310013DOI Listing
August 2015

Methods for extracellular vesicles isolation in a hospital setting.

Front Immunol 2015 13;6:50. Epub 2015 Feb 13.

Multiple Sclerosis Unit, Neuroscience Area, Biodonostia Health Research Institute , San Sebastián , Spain ; Spanish Network on Multiple Sclerosis , Madrid , Spain.

The research in extracellular vesicles (EVs) has been rising during the last decade. However, there is no clear consensus on the most accurate protocol to isolate and analyze them. Besides, most of the current protocols are difficult to implement in a hospital setting due to being very time-consuming or to requirements of specific infrastructure. Thus, our aim is to compare five different protocols (comprising two different medium-speed differential centrifugation protocols; commercially polymeric precipitation - exoquick - acid precipitation; and ultracentrifugation) for blood and urine samples to determine the most suitable one for the isolation of EVs. Nanoparticle tracking analysis, flow cytometry, western blot (WB), electronic microscopy, and spectrophotometry were used to characterize basic aspects of EVs such as concentration, size distribution, cell-origin and transmembrane markers, and RNA concentration. The highest EV concentrations were obtained using the exoquick protocol, followed by both differential centrifugation protocols, while the ultracentrifugation and acid-precipitation protocols yielded considerably lower EV concentrations. The five protocols isolated EVs of similar characteristics regarding markers and RNA concentration; however, standard protocol recovered only small EVs. EV isolated with exoquick presented difficult to be analyzed with WB. The RNA concentrations obtained from urine-derived EVs were similar to those obtained from blood-derived ones, despite the urine EV concentration being 10-20 times lower. We consider that a medium-speed differential centrifugation could be suitable to be applied in a hospital setting as it requires the simplest infrastructure and recovers higher concentration of EV than standard protocol. A workflow from sampling to characterization of EVs is proposed.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.3389/fimmu.2015.00050DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4327731PMC
March 2015

[Smoking and multiple sclerosis].

Rev Neurol 2015 Feb;60(4):169-78

Hospital Universitario Donostia, San Sebastian, Espana.

Introduction: Multiple sclerosis (MS) is a complex autoimmune disease of unknown etiology, in which genetic and environmental factors interact and determine the disease susceptibility. In recent years, smoking effect has been one of the emerging environmental factors in the study of MS and has been associated with an increased susceptibility and an increase in disease progression.

Aim: To review the current evidence on the role of smoking in MS.

Development: The review includes an update of studies that have analyzed different aspects of tobacco in MS, including the potential pathogenic pathways involved, association of smoking and risk of MS, interactions with other risk factors and the effect of smoking in the disease course.

Conclusions: Observational studies show that smoking significantly increases the risk of MS (odds ratio~1.5) and is an independent risk factor. However, MS is a complex disease and this risk may be modified depending on the interaction with other genetic and environmental factors. The role of smoking as a progression factor is more controversial, with confronted results and highly variable studies, making it difficult to draw any conclusion. The mechanisms by which smoking may modify the risk and progression of the disease have to be further investigated.
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February 2015

Lipid-specific immunoglobulin M bands in cerebrospinal fluid are associated with a reduced risk of developing progressive multifocal leukoencephalopathy during treatment with natalizumab.

Ann Neurol 2015 Mar 30;77(3):447-57. Epub 2015 Jan 30.

Department of Immunology, Ramón y Cajal University Hospital, Institute Ramon y Cajal for Biomedical Research, Madrid, Spain; Spanish Network for the Research in Multiple Sclerosis, Spain.

Objective: Progressive multifocal leukoencephalopathy (PML) is a serious side effect associated with natalizumab treatment in multiple sclerosis (MS). PML risk increases in individuals seropositive for anti-John Cunningham virus (JC) antibodies, with prolonged duration of natalizumab treatment, and with prior exposure to immunosuppressants. We explored whether the presence of lipid-specific immunoglobulin M oligoclonal bands in cerebrospinal fluid (CSF; IgM bands), a recognized marker of highly inflammatory MS, may identify individuals better able to counteract the potential immunosuppressive effect of natalizumab and hence be associated with a reduced risk of developing PML.

Methods: We studied 24 MS patients who developed PML and another 343 who did not suffer this opportunistic infection during natalizumab treatment. Patients were recruited at 25 university hospitals. IgM bands were studied by isoelectric focusing and immunodetection. CSF lymphocyte counts were explored in 151 MS patients recruited at Ramon y Cajal Hospital in Madrid, Spain.

Results: IgM bands were independently associated with decreased PML risk (odds ratio [OR] = 45.9, 95% confidence interval [CI] = 5.9-339.3, p < 0.0001) in patients treated with natalizumab. They were also associated with significantly higher CSF CD4, CD8, and B-cell numbers. Patients positive for IgM bands and anti-JC antibodies had similar levels of reduced PML risk to those who were anti-JC negative (OR = 1.55, 95% CI = 0.09-25.2, p = 1.0). Higher risk was observed in patients positive for anti-JC antibodies and negative for IgM bands (19% of the total cohort, OR = 59.71, 95% CI = 13.6-262.2).

Interpretation: The presence of IgM bands reflects a process that may diminish the risk of PML by counteracting the excess of immunosuppression that may occur during natalizumab therapy.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1002/ana.24345DOI Listing
March 2015