We use cookies to understand how you use our site and to improve your experience. This includes personalizing content and advertising. To learn more, click here. By continuing to use our site, you accept our use of cookies. Cookie Policy.

Features Partner Sites Information LinkXpress
Sign In
Advertise with Us
Sekisui Diagnostics UK Ltd.

Download Mobile App

Unique Autoantibody Signature to Help Diagnose Multiple Sclerosis Years before Symptom Onset

By LabMedica International staff writers
Posted on 23 Apr 2024
Print article
Image: Signs of multiple sclerosis show up in blood years before symptoms appear (Photo courtesy of vitstudio/Shutterstock)
Image: Signs of multiple sclerosis show up in blood years before symptoms appear (Photo courtesy of vitstudio/Shutterstock)

Autoimmune diseases such as multiple sclerosis (MS) are thought to occur partly due to unusual immune responses to common infections. Early MS symptoms, including dizziness, spasms, and fatigue, often resemble other conditions, complicating diagnosis, which heavily relies on detailed brain MRI evaluations. MS can severely impair motor control, but advancements in treatment can slow down its progression and help maintain functions such as walking. Notably, around 10% of MS patients begin producing a distinctive set of antibodies against their own proteins years before symptoms appear. These autoantibodies have been found to bind to both human cells and common pathogens, possibly explaining why immune attacks on the brain and spinal cord occur in MS. Now, researchers have identified a unique autoantibody signature in about 10% of MS patients that appears years before the onset of clinical symptoms, raising hopes for early detection via a simple blood test and earlier treatment initiation.

Utilizing the U.S. Department of Defense Serum Repository, which includes data from over ten million individuals, a team from the University of California, San Francisco (UCSF, San Francisco, CA, USA) and the University of North Carolina at Charlotte (Charlotte, NC, USA) performed whole-proteome autoantibody profiling on samples from hundreds of MS patients both before and after they experienced symptoms. They identified a specific group of patients who exhibited a recognizable pattern of autoantibodies long before any clinical symptoms of MS appeared, accompanied by increased levels of serum neurofilament light (sNfL), which indicates early neuroaxonal damage.

This autoantibody signature was also validated using samples from another MS cohort, confirming its strong specificity for patients diagnosed with MS. This breakthrough could lead to the development of antigen-specific biomarkers for high-risk individuals with clinically or radiologically isolated neuroinflammatory syndromes. While many questions about MS remain—from the triggers of the immune response in certain patients to the disease's progression in the majority who do not exhibit these autoantibodies—researchers are optimistic that they have found a vital early indicator of its development.

"This study sheds light on the preclinical phase of MS and provides a promising avenue for early detection and intervention. Identifying patients at high risk of developing MS before symptom onset could revolutionize patient care and treatment strategies," said Danillo Augusto, Ph.D., an assistant professor in biology at the University of North Carolina at Charlotte.

“Over the last few decades, there's been a move in the field to treat MS earlier and more aggressively with newer, more potent therapies,” said UCSF neurologist Michael Wilson, MD. “A diagnostic result like this makes such early intervention more likely, giving patients hope for a better life.”

Related Links:
UNC Charlotte  

Print article


Clinical Chemistry

view channel
Image: The new ADLM guidance will help healthcare professionals navigate respiratory virus testing in a post-COVID world (Photo courtesy of 123RF)

New ADLM Guidance Provides Expert Recommendations on Clinical Testing For Respiratory Viral Infections

Respiratory tract infections, predominantly caused by viral pathogens, are a common reason for healthcare visits. Accurate and swift diagnosis of these infections is essential for optimal patient management.... Read more


view channel
Image: The CAPILLARYS 3 DBS devices have received U.S. FDA 510(k) clearance (Photo courtesy of Sebia)

Next Generation Instrument Screens for Hemoglobin Disorders in Newborns

Hemoglobinopathies, the most widespread inherited conditions globally, affect about 7% of the population as carriers, with 2.7% of newborns being born with these conditions. The spectrum of clinical manifestations... Read more


view channel
Image: For 46 years, Roche and Hitachi have collaborated to deliver innovative diagnostic solutions (Photo courtesy of Roche)

Roche and Hitachi High-Tech Extend 46-Year Partnership for Breakthroughs in Diagnostic Testing

Roche (Basel, Switzerland) and Hitachi High-Tech (Tokyo, Japan) have renewed their collaboration agreement, committing to a further 10 years of partnership. This extension brings together their long-standing... Read more
Copyright © 2000-2024 Globetech Media. All rights reserved.