Friday, 21 July 2017

Autoimmunity in MS: Neurofilament light

Puentes F, van der Star BJ, Boomkamp SD, Kipp M, Boon L, Bosca I, Raffel J, Gnanapavan S, van der Valk P, Stephenson J, Barnett SC, Baker D, Amor S. Neurofilament Light as an Immune Target for Pathogenic Antibodies. Immunology. 2017. doi: 10.1111/imm.12797. [Epub ahead of print]

Antibodies to neuronal antigens are associated with many neurological diseases including paraneoplastic neurological disorders, epilepsy, amyotrophic lateral sclerosis and multiple sclerosis. Immunisation with neuronal antigens such as neurofilament light NF-L, a neuronal intermediate filament in axons, has been shown to induce neurological disease and spasticity in mice. Also, while antibodies to NF-L are widely used as surrogate biomarkers of axonal injury in amyotrophic lateral sclerosis and multiple sclerosis, it remains to be elucidated if antibodies to NF-L contribute to neurodegeneration and neurological disease. To address this, we examined the pathogenic role of antibodies directed to NF-L in vitro using spinal cord co-cultures and in vivo in experimental autoimmune encephalomyelitis (EAE) and optic neuritis animal models of multiple sclerosis. Here we show that peripheral injections of antibodies to NF-L augmented clinical signs of neurological disease in acute EAE, increased retinal ganglion cell loss in experimental optic neuritis and induced neurological signs following intracerebral injection into control mice. The pathogenicity of antibodies to NF-L was also observed in spinal cord co-cultures where axonal loss was induced. Taken together, our results reveal that as well as acting as reliable biomarkers of neuronal damage, antibodies to NF-L exacerbate neurological disease, suggesting that antibodies to NF-L generated during disease may also be pathogenic and play a role in the progression of neurodegeneration.

When nerves are damaged they breakdown and release their contents and these products are measured as a marker of disease activity. However, it is clear that neurofilament directed antibodies are generated to clear up these breakdown products. 

We have shown that if you cause the antibodies to be produced in mice that they can cause neurological problems. 

This study shows that these antibodies, however can be potentially damaging and so clearly shows there is autoimmunity occurring in MS. In this study neurofilament specific antibodies were injected into animals and it made EAE worst, once T cells had opened the blood brain barrier to allow the antibody to enter the brain. This was not surprising as this has been shown with a number of antibodies. More surprisingly when injected directly into the brain these antibodies caused signs of disease. It was surprising because neurofilament is inside a nerve and so would not be easily assessable.  The signs occurring were very different to the signs occurring when antibodies targeting basal ganglia from a person with a tic disease was injected into the brain. 

These neurofilment directed antibodies can kill nerves and so could contribute to damage in MS.

CoI. This is work bt TeamG

#GuestPost & #NewsSpeak: feedback from the MS-Chariot meeting

An MSer's perspective the MS-Chariot meeting. #GuestPost #ThinkHand #MSChariot

Last week, I attended the first MS Chariot meeting at St Barts. Around the table were about twenty of us - mostly neurologists from the UK and abroad, health researchers, an MS Society  representative and a few of us MSers - all there to discuss the possibilities, funding, treatments and yes - frustrations - of those with advanced MS who have traditionally been overlooked in the quest for disease modifying drugs.

This was made all the more apparent at the start of the day when Craig Milverton sat down at a piano and began playing a handful of songs by George Gershwin, Cole Porter and other jazz greats.

Playing is the key word here.

You see in 2010, the very year Milverton was named Jazz Pianist of the Year, he was diagnosed with PPMS. With each passing month, his symptoms got worse. His walking deteriorated, his fingers became more and more numb and he began missing notes on the piano. His career as a pianist was over, he thought.


Then in 2012 he was able to get on ocrelizumab - an experimental drug currently being assessed for drug licensing by the EMA for RRMS and PPMS. Almost immediately after his first infusion he started to feel better. Since then, his symptoms have stabilised and he has been able to continue playing across the country.

Craig is one of the lucky ones. Until very recently, it was thought that a person with advanced  MS - with an EDSS score above 5.5 and requiring a walking aid - would not benefit from a disease modifying treatment (DMT). It was not quite “Diagnosis and Adios,” but pretty close.

Why? Selective interpretation of trial data, too much focus on EDSS scores as a key outcome, a belief immunotherapy did not work “beyond the wheelchair,” regulatory process, cost and numbers. Advanced MS is uncommon. Only 10-15% of MSers are initially diagnosed with it.

Such a belief also meant that for those with advanced MS preserving upper limb function was not seen as a priority. But if you think about it, what keeps pwMS independent is their arms and hands. When you lose the ability to walk - that is bad enough. But at least with your hands, you are able to get into your wheelchair, dress yourself, clean your teeth, feed yourself, make a telephone call, use a keyboard, self-catheterize, work a remote control… Lose that and your quality of life plummets.

Thankfully this mindset is starting to change. “At the moment, there are no established options for advanced MS, but emerging therapies are offering hope,” said Cris Constantinescu, a neurologist from Nottingham University, to the group.

For Dr. Klaus Schmierer, a neurologist at St Barts who organised the forum, real promise lies in cladribine, a drug traditionally used for the past 25 years to treat hairy cell leukemia, but which has also proved to be highly effective in treating RRMS. As an MS drug, it has many advantages. It is safe, easy to use, convenient - it is an injectable but also comes in tablet form -  and cheap as it is a generic drug.

Intriguingly, there is also evidence, dating from the early 1990’s, that cladribine may also slow advanced MS. At the moment, about one hundred patients at the Royal London Hospital with advanced MS - who have failed other therapies - are using it and finding it effective. “It meets the needs of some patients for whom we have little to offer,” says Schmierer. But definitive trials are lacking, a source of frustration for Schmierer, who is currently looking for funding.

Another MS drug which offers hope is rituximab, an injectable, which works in a similar fashion to ocrelizumab.  Though the NHS has declined to fund rituximab for the treatment of MS in the UK - citing insufficient trial results - Swedish neurologists have been using the drug for RRMS and advanced MS for more than a decade. “It fulfilled an unmet need and there were fewer options available for advanced MS,” said Frederik Piehl, a neurologist from the Karolinska Institute. In Sweden, he said rituximab has been found to have been highly effective and well tolerated. However in the UK, neurologists are not allowed to prescribe it for their patients.

By the end of the day, it had become apparent that there were no one-off easy answers regarding treatment options for those with advanced MS. The challenging nature of treating MS, plus wrangles over drug licensing, potential funding and drug company priorities ensures this However there was a feeling that, at least, attention is finally being focused on those with advanced MS who might have been previously ignored. Studies have shown - and as Craig Milverton apply demonstrated - advanced MS is modifiable. Now it is key to get the rest of the community on board.

As Aisling McMahon, head of clinical research at the MS Society, said: “We are very aware that progressive MS is the greatest area of unmet need.”

RMH

Thursday, 20 July 2017

BrainHealth

Today in the News you may hear about brain health to help protect against Dementia from Alzheimer's. However, these are all relevant to MS too
There are 9 things mentioned that may help 

The nine risk factors include:
  • Less childhood education
  • Hearing loss
  • Hypertension
  • Obesity
  • Smoking
  • Diabetes
  • Depression
  • Physical inactivity
  • Social isolation
Potential risk factors:

  • Pollution
  • Visual loss
We all know that an active body and and active brain, helps protect against ill-health, 

If I asked you to think of things that promote brain health, you could write this on the bad of a fag-packet, which you should throw away as you shouldn't be smoking.

The interesting ones to me are hearing loss but this makes sense because hearing and vision are essential part of sensory input that is going to keep your brain active making new connections.

However, if you look at the list above, many of them are all inter-connected e.g. physical activity, obesity, diabetes.

Please note you can do all the unhealthy things and not get dementia and you can be as healthy as possible and get dementia, the list above are risk factors that are modifiable by life style, adopt them they reduce your risk but do not prevent risk.

MS Blog of Year 2017

We received notice that we were one of the Healthline's 
Best MS Blogs of the Year

Here is the list (CLICK). Be warned this site contains adverts and this has nothing to do with us.

psychiatric disorders in children

Psychiatric disorders in children with demyelinating diseases of the central nervous system.Pakpoor J, Goldacre R, Schmierer K, Giovannoni G, Waubant E, Goldacre MJ.
Mult Scler. 2017 Jul 1:1352458517719150. doi: 10.1177/1352458517719150. [Epub ahead of print]

INTRODUCTION:

The profile of psychiatric disorders associated with multiple sclerosis (MS) may differ in children. We aimed to assess the risk of psychiatric disorders in children with MS and other demyelinating diseases, and vice versa.

PATIENTS AND METHODS:

We analyzed linked English Hospital Episode Statistics, and mortality data, 1999-2011. Cohorts were constructed of children admitted with MS and other central nervous system (CNS) demyelinating diseases. We searched for any subsequent episode of care with psychiatric disorders in these cohorts and compared to a reference cohort.

RESULTS:

Children with CNS demyelinating diseases had an increased rate of psychotic disorders (rate ratio (RR) = 5.77 (95% confidence interval (CI) = 2.48-11.41)); anxiety, stress-related, and somatoform disorders (RR = 2.38 (1.39-3.81)); intellectual disability (RR = 6.56 (3.66-10.84)); and other behavioral disorders (RR = 8.99 (5.13-14.62)). In analysis of the paediatric MS cohort as the exposure, there were elevated rates of psychotic disorders (RR = 10.76 (2.93-27.63)), mood disorders (RR = 2.57 (1.03-5.31)), and intellectual disability (RR = 6.08 (1.25-17.80)). In reverse analyses, there were elevated rates of a recorded hospital episode with CNS demyelinating disease after a previous recorded episode with anxiety, stress-related, and somatoform disorders; attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD); autism; intellectual disability; and other behavioral disorders.

CONCLUSION:

This analysis of a national diagnostic database provides strong evidence for an association between pediatric CNS demyelinating diseases and psychiatric disorders, and highlights a need for early involvement of mental health professionals.

Children who get MS are at a 6 times risk of getting psychiatric issues,