BACKGROUND:There is evidence that B cells play an important role in disease pathology of multiple sclerosis (MS). The aim of this prospective observational study was to determine the predictive value of cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) B cell subtypes in disease evolution of patients with MS.
MATERIALS AND METHODS:128 patients were included between 2004 and 2012. Median follow up time was 7.9 years (range 3.3-10.8 years). 10 patients were lost to follow-up. 32 clinically isolated syndrome- (CIS), 25 relapsing remitting MS- (RRMS), 2 secondary progressive MS- (SPMS) and 9 primary progressive MS- (PPMS) patients were included. The control group consisted of 40 patients with other neurological diseases (OND). CSF samples were analyzed for routine diagnostic parameters. B cell phenotypes were characterized by flow cytometry using CD19 and CD138 (Plasma cells) specific antibodies. Standardized baseline brain MRI was conducted at the time of diagnostic lumbar puncture. Main outcome variables were likelihood of progressive disease course, EDSS progression, conversion to clinical definite MS (CDMS) and relapse rate.
RESULTS: CSF mature B cells (CD19+, CD138-) were increased in bout-onset MS compared to PPMS (p<0.05) and OND (p<0.001), whereas plasma blasts (CD19+CD138+) were increased in bout-onset MS (p<0.001) and PPMS (p<0.05) compared to OND. CSF B cells did not predict a progressive disease course, EDSS progression, an increased relapse rate or the conversion to CDMS. Likelihood of progressive disease course (p<0.05) and EDSS (p<0.01) was predicted by higher age at baseline, whereas conversion to CDMS was predicted by a lower age at onset (p<0.01) and the presence of ≥9 MRI T2 lesions (p<0.05).
CONCLUSION: We detected significant differences in the CSF B cell subsets between different clinical MS subtypes and OND patients. CSF B cells were neither predictive for disease and EDSS progression nor conversion to CDMS after a CIS.
In this study they used CD138 as a marker for discrimination and this detects plasma blasts and plasma cells, which are the antibody producing cells and their precursors, the CD138- are not just the mature cells but they are also the memory cells. There were more common in active MS, but their number did not predict activity.