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Journal: Multiple sclerosis (Houndmills, Basingstoke, England)


Ublituximab, a novel monoclonal antibody (mAb) targeting a unique epitope on the CD20 antigen, is glycoengineered for enhanced B-cell targeting through antibody-dependent cellular cytotoxicity (ADCC). Greater ADCC may allow lower doses and shorter infusion times versus other anti-CD20 mAbs.


The envelope protein from multiple sclerosis (MS) associated retroviral element (MSRV), a member of the Human Endogenous Retroviral family ‘W’ (HERV-W), induces dysimmunity and inflammation.

Concepts: Provirus, Retroviruses, Endogenous retrovirus, Cell, DNA, Molecular biology, Retrovirus, Multiple sclerosis


JC virus (JCV) is an opportunistic virus known to cause progressive multifocal leukoencephalopathy. Anti-JC virus (Anti-JCV) antibody prevalence in a large, geographically diverse, multi-national multiple sclerosis (MS) cohort was compared in a cross-sectional study. Overall, anti-JCV antibody prevalence was 57.6%. Anti-JCV antibody prevalence in MS patients ranged from approximately 47% to 68% across these countries: Norway, 47.4%; Denmark, 52.6%; Israel, 56.6%; France, 57.6%; Italy, 58.3%; Sweden, 59.0%; Germany, 59.1%; Austria, 66.7% and Turkey, 67.7%. Prevalence increased with age (from 49.5% in patients < 30 years of age to 66.5% in patients ≥ 60 years of age; p < 0.0001 comparing all age categories), was lower in females than in males (55.8% versus 61.9%; p < 0.0001) and was not affected by prior immunosuppressant or natalizumab use.

Concepts: Oligodendrocyte, Polyomavirus, Rituximab, AIDS, Natalizumab, JC virus, Progressive multifocal leukoencephalopathy, Multiple sclerosis


To study the relationships between 1-2 year changes in well-known physician-rated measurements (Expanded Disability Status Scale (EDSS), Timed 25-Foot Walk (T25FW), 9-Hole Peg Test (9HPT)) and the long-term (≥ 5 years) outcome in patient-reported outcome (PRO) measures (Multiple Sclerosis Impact Scale (MSIS-29), Multiple Sclerosis Walking Scale (MSWS-12)) that reflect the patient-perceived impact of disease, in progressive MS.

Concepts: Measuring instrument, Time, Test method, Expanded Disability Status Scale, Psychometrics, Multiple sclerosis, Walking


Progressive multifocal leukoencephalopathy is a rare but potentially lethal adverse event in natalizumab treated multiple sclerosis patients. We report on a 40-year old Caucasian man with typical relapsing progressive multiple sclerosis, who developed a reversible leukoencephalopathy syndrome after 43 natalizumab infusions mimicking progressive multifocal leukoencephalopathy. To our knowledge, this is the first case of its kind. Our case suggests that awareness ought to be sharpened for reversible leukoencephalopathy syndrome in the follow-up of natalizumab treated multiple sclerosis patients.

Concepts: Treatment of multiple sclerosis, Developed country, Progressive lens, Posterior reversible encephalopathy syndrome, Natalizumab, Progressive multifocal leukoencephalopathy, Multiple sclerosis


BACKGROUND: The StratifyJCV® test is a qualitative assay to classify MS patients as anti-JC virus (JCV) antibody positive or negative. Quantification of anti-JCV antibody levels in serum and cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) of multiple sclerosis (MS) patients might add to the progressive multifocal leukoencephalopathy (PML) risk assessment. OBJECTIVE: The objective of this study is to test sera of patients in a quantitative anti-JCV antibody assay, and to compare the results with preexisting data from the StratifyJCV® test. METHODS: Sera of a total of 175 MS patients and matched non-MS-controls were tested for anti-JCV antibodies using glutathione S-transferase-tagged-VP1 as antigen. Antibody reactivity was quantified in arbitrary units using human immunoglobulin as standard. RESULTS: The comparison of our assay with StratifyJCV® showed good inter-assay agreement (kappa 0.6), and strong correlation for antibody reactivity (r(2) = 0.94). Discordant samples had low-reactive positivity, and a higher proportion (13% vs. 4%) tested positive in the StratifyJCV® test only. CONCLUSIONS: The method presented is a tool for the reliable quantification of anti-JCV antibodies, which demonstrates good agreement with results from StratifyJCV®. In contrast to StratifyJCV®, we pre-adsorbed all of the sera with BK virus (BKV) VP1 protein to reduce cross-reactivity. This step may account for a higher species-specificity of our assay. As such, our assay might be a promising additional tool for PML risk assessment.

Concepts: ELISA, Antigen, Cerebrospinal fluid, Immune system, Protein, Progressive multifocal leukoencephalopathy, Antibody, Multiple sclerosis


Brief cognitive assessments are increasingly emphasized in MS treatment studies and clinical care. While much is known about the reliability of several widely-used neuropsychological tests, interpretation of the changes in individual patients is inadequate. The FDA offers guidance on the issue, as related to patient-reported outcomes. Unfortunately, cognitive ability is only weakly correlated with the frequency and severity of self-reported cognitive problems. In this review, we critically examined the psychometrics of neuropsychological testing in MS, emphasizing statistical and anchor-based approaches to interpreting clinically meaningful change. We suggest that there are two paths forward that should be currently pursued. First, to employ co-primary outcomes, including a brief cognitive test and a clinician or observer’s impression on a scale of change, where successful treatment would require showing significant improvement in both measures. Secondly, to work toward showing that when reliable brief cognitive tests are employed, increments of statistically-relevant change would correlate with changes in clinically-relevant anchors (such as vocational disability or clinical relapses with cognitive impairment). The latter goal will allow a more parsimonious and scientifically efficient approach of utilizing only the brief cognitive test as a primary outcome. While some progress has been made in this direction, more research is needed. We are of the opinion that data from both the statistical and clinically meaningful approaches will be necessary to develop valid definitions of meaningful change on cognitive outcome measures, and that it would be best to pursue research using tests that already have well-established reliability and validity.

Concepts: Neuropsychological test, Reliability, Cognitive tests, Clinical neuropsychology, Psychology, Psychometrics, Neurocognitive, Psychological testing


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


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


OBJECTIVE: Natalizumab, a highly effective treatment for multiple sclerosis (MS) and Crohn’s disease, is associated with progressive multifocal leukoencephalopathy (PML). Upon suspicion or diagnosis of PML, plasma exchange (PLEX) is performed to remove natalizumab from the circulation, allowing immune reconstitution of the central nervous system. Since PLEX may also remove other circulating antibodies, we examined the effects of PLEX on serum immunoglobulin (IgG) and anti-JC virus (JCV) antibody levels in MS patients with and without PML. METHODS: Serum samples from 12 natalizumab-treated patients without PML collected before, during and after PLEX were tested for IgG isotypes using a commercial assay, and for anti-JCV antibodies using a two-step enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay. Five natalizumab-treated PML patients who underwent PLEX were also tested for anti-JCV antibodies. RESULTS: PLEX produced a two- to three-fold reduction in all IgG isotypes. Among patients without PML, 42% (five of 12 patients) had detectable anti-JCV antibodies before PLEX; in these patients, anti-JCV antibodies were reduced approximately two- to five-fold, with levels returning to 50-100 percent of baseline two weeks after the final PLEX. The five PML patients, all of whom had detectable anti-JCV antibodies before PLEX, experienced similar reductions in anti-JCV antibody levels following PLEX. CONCLUSIONS: Our results indicate that PLEX effectively removes circulating antibodies; however, levels of endogenous anti-JCV antibody, unlike exogenously administered natalizumab, were replenished relatively quickly following PLEX. While interpretation of anti-JCV antibody levels during or within two weeks after PLEX may be problematic, humoral JCV immunity is not abolished by PLEX and antibody levels are rapidly restored.

Concepts: ELISPOT, Immunity, Progressive multifocal leukoencephalopathy, ELISA, Immunology, Immune system, Antibody, Multiple sclerosis