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Concept: Clinically isolated syndrome


OBJECTIVES: To assess in a large population of patients with clinically isolated syndrome (CIS) the relevance of brain lesion location and frequency in predicting 1-year conversion to multiple sclerosis (MS). METHODS: In this multicenter, retrospective study, clinical and MRI data at onset and clinical follow-up at 1 year were collected for 1,165 patients with CIS. On T2-weighted MRI, we generated lesion probability maps of white matter (WM) lesion location and frequency. Voxelwise analyses were performed with a nonparametric permutation-based approach (p < 0.05, cluster-corrected). RESULTS: In CIS patients with hemispheric, multifocal, and brainstem/cerebellar onset, lesion probability map clusters were seen in clinically eloquent brain regions. Significant lesion clusters were not found in CIS patients with optic nerve and spinal cord onset. At 1 year, clinically definite MS developed in 26% of patients. The converting group, despite a greater baseline lesion load compared with the nonconverting group (7 ± 8.1 cm(3) vs 4.6 ± 6.7 cm(3), p < 0.001), showed less widespread lesion distribution (18% vs 25% of brain voxels occupied by lesions). High lesion frequency was found in the converting group in projection, association, and commissural WM tracts, with larger clusters being in the corpus callosum, corona radiata, and cingulum. CONCLUSIONS: Higher frequency of lesion occurrence in clinically eloquent WM tracts can characterize CIS subjects with different types of onset. The involvement of specific WM tracts, in particular those traversed by fibers involved in motor function and near the corpus callosum, seems to be associated with a higher risk of clinical conversion to MS in the short term.

Concepts: Magnetic resonance imaging, Multiple sclerosis, Cerebrum, Clinically isolated syndrome, White matter, Corpus callosum, Lesion, Optic nerve


The aim of the study was to estimate the rate of conversion from clinically isolated syndrome (CIS) to multiple sclerosis (MS) and to investigate variables predicting conversion in a cohort of patients presenting with symptoms suggestive of MS. Patients with a first symptom suggestive of MS in the preceding 6 months and exclusion of other diseases were enrolled in an observational prospective study from December 2004 through June 2007. Conversion from CIS to MS according to both McDonald and Clinically Defined Multiple Sclerosis (CDMS) criteria was prospectively recorded until March 2010. The multivariate Cox proportional hazard model was used to assess the best predictive factors of conversion from CIS to MS. Among 168 patients included in the analysis, 122 converted to MS according to McDonald criteria whereas 81 converted to MS according to CDMS criteria. The 2-year probability of conversion was 57 % for McDonald Criteria and 36 % for CDMS criteria. Variables at enrolment significantly associated with conversion according to McDonald criteria were age and positivity for Barkhof criteria, and according to Poser’s CDMS criteria, age, positivity for Barkhof criteria and no disease modifying therapy. In this large prospective cohort study the conversion rate from CIS to MS in patients presenting with recent symptoms suggestive of MS was within the range of previous observational studies and lower than that reported in the placebo arm of randomized trials. We confirm the prognostic value of MRI in addition to the previous experimental data on the protective role of disease-modifying therapies.

Concepts: Scientific method, Experimental design, Disease, Proportional hazards models, Medical terms, Symptom, Multiple sclerosis, Clinically isolated syndrome


Abstract Background: Chronic Cerebro-Spinal Venous Insufficiency (CCSVI) has been proposed to be associated with Multiple Sclerosis (MS). Zamboni et al reported significant improvement in neurological outcomes in MS patients who underwent Percutaneous Transluminal Angioplasty (PTA). Objectives: To retrospectively evaluate the neurological outcomes in MS patients who underwent PTA. Method: Relapsing remitting MS patients who underwent PTA and completed at least one year post PTA were assessed. Patients with clinically isolated syndrome or progressive forms of MS were excluded. Primary endpoint was the proportion of relapse-free patients at one year. Secondary endpoints were change in mean EDSS score and proportion of patients with new MRI activity (defined as either Gadolinium-enhancing or new T2 lesions) at one year. Results: 45 patients satisfied the inclusion criteria. Females constituted 71.1%. The mean age and mean disease duration were 33.76 and 7.16 years respectively. At one-year post-PTA, the proportion of relapse-free patients decreased from 84.44% to 66.67% (p = 0.085) whereas the mean EDSS score increased (p = 0.017). The proportion of patients with new MRI activity increased significantly from 17.78% to 44.44% (p = 0.012). 35.6% of patients stopped their DMTs. There was no difference among the patients who stopped their DMTs with respect to relapses, EDSS score or new MRI activity. Conclusion: The study revealed that PTA in relapsing remitting MS patients was not associated with any neurological improvement. However, there was an increase in disease activity irrespective of the adherence to DMTs. Further evidence of the association between CCSVI and MS is required.

Concepts: Retrospective, Magnetic resonance imaging, Multiple sclerosis, Clinically isolated syndrome, Relapse, Radiology, Angioplasty, Chronic cerebrospinal venous insufficiency


BACKGROUND: The placebo-controlled phase of the PreCISe study showed that glatiramer acetate delayed onset of clinically definite multiple sclerosis (CDMS) in patients with clinically isolated syndrome and brain lesions on MRI. OBJECTIVE: To compare the effects of early versus delayed glatiramer acetate treatment in the open-label phase of PreCISe. METHODS: Patients with a clinically isolated syndrome suggestive of MS with unifocal manifestation and ≥2 T2-weighted brain lesions were randomized to receive glatiramer acetate 20 mg/d (early-treatment, n=198) or placebo (delayed-treatment, n=211) for 36 months or until conversion to CDMS, followed by open-label glatiramer acetate treatment for two years. RESULTS: Early glatiramer acetate treatment reduced CDMS conversion risk by 41% (hazard ratio 0.59, 95% confidence interval 0.44-0.80; p=0.0005) versus delayed-treatment, and was associated with a 972-day delay (185%) in conversion to CDMS, less brain atrophy (-28%, p=0.0209), fewer new T2 lesions/year (-42%, <0.0001) and lower T2 lesion volume (-22%, p=0.0005) versus delayed treatment. Adverse events were consistent with the established safety profile of glatiramer acetate. CONCLUSIONS: Effects of early glatiramer acetate treatment on the rate of conversion to CDMS and on MRI measures of disease activity and lesion burden support initiating glatiramer acetate treatment soon after the first clinical symptoms suggestive of MS and continuing treatment to sustain benefits.

Concepts: Anatomical pathology, Magnetic resonance imaging, Multiple sclerosis, Clinically isolated syndrome, Placebo, Ablative brain surgery, Lesion, Glatiramer acetate


PURPOSE: To investigate the MRI characteristics in a large cohort of multiple sclerosis (MS) patients with and without a family history of MS. METHODS: Enrolled in this prospective study were 758 consecutive MS patients (mean age 46.2 ± 10.1 years, disease duration 13.6 ± 9.2 years and EDSS 3.4 ± 2.1), of whom 477 had relapsing-remitting, 222 secondary-progressive, and 30 primary-progressive disease courses and 29 had clinically isolated syndrome. One hundred and ninety-six patients (25.9%) had a positive family history of MS. Patients were assessed using measurements of lesions, brain atrophy, magnetization transfer ratio (MTR) and diffusion-weighted imaging. RESULTS: The familial MS group had greater T1-lesion volume (p=0.009) and a trend for lower MTR of T1-lesion volume (p=0.047) than the sporadic MS group. No clinical differences were found between familial versus sporadic group, or by a degree of affected relative subgroups. CONCLUSIONS: While familial MS was associated with more severe T1-lesion volume and its MTR characteristics, there were no clinical status differences between familial and sporadic MS patients. Therefore, a better understanding of the genetic and/or epigenetic influences causing these differences can advance the understanding and management of MS.

Concepts: Family, Epidemiology, Magnetic resonance imaging, Multiple sclerosis, Clinically isolated syndrome, Group, Group theory, Family history


Clinically isolated syndrome (CIS) describes a first symptomatic neurologic episode that is consistent with multiple sclerosis (MS), lasts at least 24 hours, occurs in the absence of fever or infection, and presents without encephalopathy.(1) Its cause is inflammation or demyelination in one (i.e., monofocal episode) or multiple areas (i.e., multifocal episode) of the CNS. Symptoms are those commonly found in MS and include, for example, optic neuritis, sensory or motor signs, partial myelitis, and bladder or bowel dysfunction.(1).

Concepts: Inflammation, Infection, Multiple sclerosis, Clinically isolated syndrome, Pain, Fever, Progressive multifocal leukoencephalopathy, Optic nerve


ABSTRACT Multiple sclerosis (MS) is known to be influenced by various environmental factors including cigarette smoking. To identify the impact of smoking on conversion from clinically isolated syndrome (CIS) to clinically definite MS (CDMS), 95 consecutive uniformly-treated smoker (n = 31) and non-smoker (n = 64) CIS patients were evaluated retrospectively. The smoker CIS patients did not differ from non-smokers by means of demographic and clinical findings. In addition, there was no difference between the two groups with respect to rate and time of conversion to CDMS. However, white matter lesions were detected in MRIs of all smoking versus 54 of 64 (63.5%) non-smoking CIS patients (p = 0.02). Our results show that smoking does not predict conversion from CIS to CDMS. However, smoking may be associated with the appearance of white matter lesions on MRI at CIS onset.

Concepts: Smoking, Tobacco, Tobacco smoking, Cigarette, Nicotine, Multiple sclerosis, Clinically isolated syndrome, Smoking ban


The aim of our project was to perform an exploratory analysis of the cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) proteomic profiles of Multiple Sclerosis (MS) patients, collected in different phases of their clinical course, in order to investigate the existence of peculiar profiles characterizing the different MS phenotypes. The study was carried out on 24 Clinically Isolated Syndrome (CIS), 16 Relapsing Remitting (RR) MS, 11 Progressive (Pr) MS patients. The CSF samples were analysed using the Matrix Assisted Laser Desorption Ionisation Time Of Flight (MALDI-TOF) mass spectrometer in linear mode geometry and in delayed extraction mode (m/z range: 1000-25000 Da). Peak lists were imported for normalization and statistical analysis. CSF data were correlated with demographic, clinical and MRI parameters. The evaluation of MALDI-TOF spectra revealed 348 peak signals with relative intensity ≥1% in the study range. The peak intensity of the signals corresponding to Secretogranin II and Protein 7B2 were significantly upregulated in RRMS patients compared to PrMS (p<0.05), whereas the signals of Fibrinogen and Fibrinopeptide A were significantly downregulated in CIS compared to PrMS patients (p<0.04). Additionally, the intensity of the Tymosin β4 peak was the only signal to be significantly discriminated between the CIS and RRMS patients (p = 0.013). Although with caution due to the relatively small size of the study populations, and considering that not all the findings remained significant after adjustment for multiple comparisons, in our opinion this mass spectrometry evaluation confirms that this technique may provide useful and important information to improve our understanding of the complex pathogenesis of MS.

Concepts: Mass spectrometry, Multiple sclerosis, Clinically isolated syndrome, Cerebrospinal fluid, Matrix-assisted laser desorption/ionization, Time-of-flight, Mass-to-charge ratio, Mass spectrum


Patients with multiple sclerosis (MS) and clinically isolated syndrome (CIS) may show alterations of retinal layer architecture as measured by optical coherence tomography. Little is known about changes in the retinal vascular network during MS.

Concepts: Optics, Medical imaging, Multiple sclerosis, Clinically isolated syndrome, Retina, Space, Tomography


Background On the basis of encouraging preliminary results, we conducted a randomized, controlled trial to determine whether minocycline reduces the risk of conversion from a first demyelinating event (also known as a clinically isolated syndrome) to multiple sclerosis. Methods During the period from January 2009 through July 2013, we randomly assigned participants who had had their first demyelinating symptoms within the previous 180 days to receive either 100 mg of minocycline, administered orally twice daily, or placebo. Administration of minocycline or placebo was continued until a diagnosis of multiple sclerosis was established or until 24 months after randomization, whichever came first. The primary outcome was conversion to multiple sclerosis (diagnosed on the basis of the 2005 McDonald criteria) within 6 months after randomization. Secondary outcomes included conversion to multiple sclerosis within 24 months after randomization and changes on magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) at 6 months and 24 months (change in lesion volume on T2-weighted MRI, cumulative number of new lesions enhanced on T1-weighted MRI [“enhancing lesions”], and cumulative combined number of unique lesions [new enhancing lesions on T1-weighted MRI plus new and newly enlarged lesions on T2-weighted MRI]). Results A total of 142 eligible participants underwent randomization at 12 Canadian multiple sclerosis clinics; 72 participants were assigned to the minocycline group and 70 to the placebo group. The mean age of the participants was 35.8 years, and 68.3% were women. The unadjusted risk of conversion to multiple sclerosis within 6 months after randomization was 61.0% in the placebo group and 33.4% in the minocycline group, a difference of 27.6 percentage points (95% confidence interval [CI], 11.4 to 43.9; P=0.001). After adjustment for the number of enhancing lesions at baseline, the difference in the risk of conversion to multiple sclerosis within 6 months after randomization was 18.5 percentage points (95% CI, 3.7 to 33.3; P=0.01); the unadjusted risk difference was not significant at the 24-month secondary outcome time point (P=0.06). All secondary MRI outcomes favored minocycline over placebo at 6 months but not at 24 months. Trial withdrawals and adverse events of rash, dizziness, and dental discoloration were more frequent among participants who received minocycline than among those who received placebo. Conclusions The risk of conversion from a clinically isolated syndrome to multiple sclerosis was significantly lower with minocycline than with placebo over 6 months but not over 24 months. (Funded by the Multiple Sclerosis Society of Canada; number, NCT00666887 .).

Concepts: Clinical trial, Nuclear magnetic resonance, Magnetic resonance imaging, Multiple sclerosis, Clinically isolated syndrome, Placebo, Randomness