Remitting–relapsing multiple sclerosis patient refractory to conventional treatments and bone marrow transplantation who responded to natalizumab
Athanasia Mouzaki1, Maria Koutsokera2, Zoe Dervilli1, Maria Rodi1, Dimitra Kalavrizioti1,3, Nikolaos Dimisianos2, Ioannis Matsoukas3, Panagiotis Papathanasopoulos2
1Division of Hematology, Department of Internal Medicine, 2Neurology Clinic, Medical School and University Hospital, 3Department of Chemistry, University of Patras, Patras, Greece
Abstract: Bone marrow transplantation (BMT) was introduced as a treatment option 15 years ago for severe, drug-resistant multiple sclerosis (MS). Up until now, BMT has been undertaken in relatively few patients worldwide, with moderate success, and recent studies suggest that patients with early, highly aggressive MS benefit most from this treatment. In this work, we determined peripheral blood lymphocyte populations in a patient (patient A) with remitting–relapsing multiple sclerosis (RR-MS), refractory to conventional treatments, and who underwent BMT, relapsed, and has been treated with natalizumab for the last 22 months. Eleven other RR-MS patients in the acute phase of the disease, untreated or treated with interferon-beta, and 20 healthy subjects served as controls. Natalizumab treatment in patient A resulted in lymphocytosis and increased levels of CD20+/CD20+CD5+ B cells and T regulatory cells (Tregs). The patient maintained relatively low levels of T cells, T helper cells, memory T helper cells, and naive cytotoxic T cells, and very low levels of naive T helper cells and natural killer cells throughout. The Tregs of patient A post-treatment with natalizumab responded well in culture to a peptide mapping to a myelin basic protein antigenic epitope (mean 42% increase) compared with Tregs of healthy controls (mean 15% increase) whereas Tregs of the RR-MS controls or patient A prenatalizumab treatment either did not respond or responded adversely to the peptide (mean 3% and 21% decreases, respectively). Since the beginning of natalizumab treatment, patient A has had no relapses, and his Expanded Disability Status Score has improved. From the parameters studied, Treg responsiveness to autoantigens seems to be an important differentiating factor in RR-MS progression.
Keywords: bone marrow transplantation, lymphocytes, multiple sclerosis, myelin basic protein antigen, peptide, phenotype, remitting–relapsing, T regulatory cells
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