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Permeability of the blood-brain barrier predicts no evidence of disease activity at 2 years after natalizumab or fingolimod treatment in relapsing-remitting multiple sclerosis

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OBJECTIVE: To investigate whether blood-brain barrier (BBB) permeability, as measured by dynamic contrast-enhanced magnetic resonance imaging (DCE-MRI), can provide early detection of suboptimal treatment response in relapsing-remitting multiple sclerosis (RRMS).

METHODS: Thirty-five RRMS patients starting on fingolimod or natalizumab, drugs with a common effect of decreasing lymphocyte influx into the central nervous system, were scanned with DCE-MRI at 3T prior to treatment and at 3 and 6 months posttreatment. We calculated the influx constant Ki , a measure of BBB permeability, using the Patlak model. Suboptimal treatment response was defined as loss of no evidence of disease activity (NEDA) status after 2 years of treatment.

RESULTS: Subjects with loss of NEDA status at 2 years had a 51% higher mean Ki in normal-appearing white matter (NAWM) measured after 6 months of treatment, compared to subjects with maintained NEDA status (mean difference = 0.06ml/100g/min, 95% confidence interval [CI] = 0.02-0.09, p = 0.002). Ki in NAWM at 6 months was a good predictor of loss of NEDA status at 2 years (area under the curve = 0.84, 95% CI = 0.70-0.99, p = 0.003), and a value above 0.136ml/100/g/min yielded an odds ratio of 12.4 for suboptimal treatment response at 2 years, with a sensitivity of 73% and a specificity of 82%.

INTERPRETATION: Our results suggest that BBB permeability as measured by DCE-MRI reliably predicts suboptimal treatment response and is a surrogate marker of the state of health of the BBB. We find a predictive threshold for disease activity, which is remarkably identical in clinically isolated syndrome as previously reported and established RRMS as investigated here. Ann Neurol 2018;83:902-914.

Original languageEnglish
JournalAnnals of Neurology
Volume83
Issue number5
Pages (from-to)902-914
Number of pages13
ISSN0364-5134
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - May 2018

ID: 56376921