Are B cells important?


This week we have had people telling us that T cells are changed in early MS (Click here) and that there were no changes in the B cells. Now we have a suggestion that B cells were active in early MS.

I got excited when I saw the title about B cells in early MS. However, then I see the data, this is when I think the figures do not fit the descriptions. They fail the smack you in the eye test (The differences are so obvious it smacks you in the face).

In hindsight the previous weeks data on T cells was the same. They produced so many figures you don’t know where to look. Click here to read the paper.

The difference in T cells is significant but the B cells are not. Look at the overlap. Does it pass the smack you in the eye test? How much over lap is there? If you were an individal with a T cell result would it tell you that you are HC/MS or SCN/MS

In this B cell paper we have r = less than 0.5. This says to me forget the P values it tells us nothing about individuals. Sadly we remember the take-home message of what was written not what the data says.

r is a means of relatedness of one variable to another look at the figure below r = -0.4 can you see the trend

B-cell related biomarkers associated with severity of the first demyelinating event of acute optic neuritis. Achiron A, Hecht I, Abayev L, Naftali Ben Haim L, Feldman A, Gurevich M. Eye . 2019 . doi: 10.1038/s41433-019-0614-9. [Epub ahead of print]

BACKGROUND: Optic neuritis (ON) is the most common cause of acute unilateral visual loss in young adults and frequently occurs as the presenting symptom of multiple sclerosis (MS). Recently, we reported activation of peripheral blood CD19 + ‏ B-cells in the early stage of ON. In the current study we aimed to identify peripheral blood ‏B-cell molecular markers associated with ON severity and visual outcome.

METHODS: Expression of B-cell related biomarkers were analysed in patients with the first clinical presentation of acute unilateral ON. Logarithm of the Minimum Angle of Resolution (LogMAR). visual acuity, Optical Coherence Tomography (OCT) imaging, Expanded Disability Status Scale (EDSS) visual score and visual evoked responses were evaluated at onset and visual acuity and EDSS visual score were repeated at 6 months post-ON.

RESULTS: Thirty patients with acute unilateral ON, 77% female, mean age 33 ± 2.0 years, were enroled in the study. Expression of CD19, CD79A and CD20 B-cell markers significantly correlated with visual acuity of the affected eye (r = 0.44, p = 0.01, r = 0.37, p = 0.01 and r = 0.36, p = 0.04, respectively). The marker levels were elevated between 1.5 and 2.2-folds in the group with worse visual acuity at onset (CD79A:×1.5, p = 0.013; CD19:×2.25, p = 0.007; CD20:×1.5, p = 0.015) and not correlated with 6 month visual outcome.

CONCLUSIONS: Among patient with a first event of acute ON, expression of B-cell biomarkers correlated with the severity of the disease. These results could add information on the role of B-cell dysfunction in the early stages of ON.

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