BACKGROUND AND OBJECTIVES: It is unclear to what extent intrathecal inflammation contributes to the pathogenesis in primary progressive multiple sclerosis (PPMS). We conducted an exploratory study to investigate the degree of intrathecal inflammation and its association with biomarkers of disease activity and severity in patients with PPMS.

METHODS: We included patients with PPMS who participated in a randomized controlled trial conducted at the Danish Multiple Sclerosis Center, patients with relapsing-remitting multiple sclerosis (RRMS) and healthy controls. We analyzed concentrations of a panel of cytokines in CSF using electrochemiluminescence assays. We then explored the relationship between cytokines found in increased CSF concentrations in patients with PPMS (compared with healthy controls) with CSF concentrations of neurofilament light chain (NFL) and myelin basic protein (MBP), IgG-index, and magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) metrics (volume, magnetization transfer ratio and diffusion tensor imaging) from lesions, normal-appearing white matter, and cortical grey matter.

RESULTS: We included 59 patients with PPMS, 40 patients with RRMS, and 21 healthy controls. In patients with PPMS, CSF concentrations of CC chemokine ligand 3 (CCL-3), CXC chemokine ligand 8 (CXCL-8), CXCL-10, interleukin (IL)-10, IL-15, and vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF)-A were increased compared with healthy controls and comparable with CSF concentrations in patients with RRMS. In addition, patients with PPMS had increased CSF concentrations of IL-12p40, IL-17A, tumor necrosis factor (TNF)-α, and lymphotoxin (LT)-α compared with healthy controls, but concentrations of these cytokines were even higher in patients with RRMS. For the remaining seven cytokines (CCL22, interferon-γ, IL-5, IL-7, IL-16, IL-22, IL-27), we found no difference between patients with PPMS and healthy controls. CSF concentrations of NFL and MBP correlated weakly with concentrations of IL-15, while the remaining proinflammatory cytokines were not associated with CSF concentrations of NFL or MBP. The IgG-index correlated with four cytokines (IL-10, IL-12p40, TNF-α, and LT-α). We did not observe any significant associations between MRI metrics and CSF biomarkers of inflammation.

DISCUSSION: In this exploratory study, we found few and weak associations between intrathecal inflammation and the extent of neuroaxonal damage and demyelination, and no associations between intrathecal inflammation and MRI metrics, in patients with PPMS. Our findings suggest that, for patients with PPMS, these measures of intrathecal inflammation are not associated with the extent of neuroaxonal injury, demyelination, and disease severity, and these processes may therefore have less relevance in PPMS than in relapsing forms of MS.

TidsskriftMultiple Sclerosis and Related Disorders
Sider (fra-til)104209
Antal sider6
StatusUdgivet - dec. 2022


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