Special Issue "Advances in Multiple Sclerosis Research—Series I"

A special issue of Brain Sciences (ISSN 2076-3425).

Deadline for manuscript submissions: closed (30 June 2020).

Printed Edition Available!
A printed edition of this Special Issue is available here.

Special Issue Editors

Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

Designing immunotherapeutics, drugs, and anti-inflammatory reagents has been at the forefront of autoimmune research, in particular multiple sclerosis, for over 20 years. Delivery methods that are used to modulate effective and long-lasting immune responses have been the major focus. This Special Issue will focus on delivery methods to be used for vaccines, immunotherapeutic approaches, drug design, and anti-inflammatories and their outcomes in preclinical studies and clinical trials.

Prof. Dr. John Matsoukas
Prof. Dr. Vasso Apostolopoulos
Guest Editors

Manuscript Submission Information

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Keywords

  • vaccines
  • immunotherapeutics
  • anti-inflammatory
  • drug design
  • peptides
  • peptide mimetics
  • altered peptide ligands
  • pre-clinical studies
  • clinical trials
  • antibodies
  • delivery methods
  • dendritic cells
  • particulate vaccines
  • adjuvants
  • peptide-based vaccines
  • DNA vaccines
  • T cell responses
  • regulatory T cells
  • tolerance
  • clinical outcomes
  • antigen processing
  • antigen presentation
  • MHC-T cell interaction

Published Papers (21 papers)

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Editorial

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Editorial
Advances in Multiple Sclerosis Research–Series I
Brain Sci. 2020, 10(11), 795; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/brainsci10110795 - 29 Oct 2020
Viewed by 1048
Abstract
Designing immunotherapeutics, drugs, and anti-inflammatory reagents has been at the forefront of autoimmune research, in particular, multiple sclerosis, for over 20 years. Delivery methods that are used to modulate effective and long-lasting immune responses have been the major focus. This Special Issue, “Advances [...] Read more.
Designing immunotherapeutics, drugs, and anti-inflammatory reagents has been at the forefront of autoimmune research, in particular, multiple sclerosis, for over 20 years. Delivery methods that are used to modulate effective and long-lasting immune responses have been the major focus. This Special Issue, “Advances in Multiple Sclerosis Research—Series I”, focused on delivery methods used for immunotherapeutic approaches, drug design, anti-inflammatories, identification of markers, methods for detection and monitoring MS and treatment modalities. The issue gained much attention with 20 publications, and, as a result, we launched Series II with the deadline for submission being 30 April 2021. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Advances in Multiple Sclerosis Research—Series I)
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Editorial
The Long Road of Immunotherapeutics against Multiple Sclerosis
Brain Sci. 2020, 10(5), 288; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/brainsci10050288 - 11 May 2020
Cited by 3 | Viewed by 1352
Abstract
This commentary highlights novel immunomodulation and vaccine-based research against multiple sclerosis (MS) and reveals the amazing story that triggered this cutting-edge MS research in Greece and worldwide. It further reveals the interest and solid support of some of the world’s leading scientists, including [...] Read more.
This commentary highlights novel immunomodulation and vaccine-based research against multiple sclerosis (MS) and reveals the amazing story that triggered this cutting-edge MS research in Greece and worldwide. It further reveals the interest and solid support of some of the world’s leading scientists, including sixteen Nobel Laureates who requested from European leadership to take action in supporting Greece and its universities in the biggest ever financial crisis the country has encountered in the last decades. This support endorsed vaccine-based research on MS, initiated in Greece and Australia, leading to a worldwide network aiming to treat or manage disease outcomes. Initiatives by bright and determined researchers can result in frontiers science. We shed light on a unique story behind great research on MS which is a step forward in our efforts to develop effective treatments for MS. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Advances in Multiple Sclerosis Research—Series I)

Research

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Article
The Use of Electrochemical Voltammetric Techniques and High-Pressure Liquid Chromatography to Evaluate Conjugation Efficiency of Multiple Sclerosis Peptide-Carrier Conjugates
Brain Sci. 2020, 10(9), 577; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/brainsci10090577 - 21 Aug 2020
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 1342
Abstract
Recent studies have shown the ability of electrochemical methods to sense and determine, even at very low concentrations, the presence and quantity of molecules or analytes including pharmaceutical samples. Furthermore, analytical methods, such as high-pressure liquid chromatography (HPLC), can also detect the presence [...] Read more.
Recent studies have shown the ability of electrochemical methods to sense and determine, even at very low concentrations, the presence and quantity of molecules or analytes including pharmaceutical samples. Furthermore, analytical methods, such as high-pressure liquid chromatography (HPLC), can also detect the presence and quantity of peptides at very low concentrations, in a simple, fast, and efficient way, which allows the monitoring of conjugation reactions and its completion. Graphite/SiO2 film electrodes and HPLC methods were previously shown by our group to be efficient to detect drug molecules, such as losartan. We now use these methods to detect the conjugation efficiency of a peptide from the immunogenic region of myelin oligodendrocyte to a carrier, mannan. The HPLC method furthermore confirms the stability of the peptide with time in a simple one pot procedure. Our study provides a general method to monitor, sense and detect the presence of peptides by effectively confirming the conjugation efficiency. Such methods can be used when designing conjugates as potential immunotherapeutics in the treatment of diseases, including multiple sclerosis. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Advances in Multiple Sclerosis Research—Series I)
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Article
A Multiple N-Glucosylated Peptide Epitope Efficiently Detecting Antibodies in Multiple Sclerosis
Brain Sci. 2020, 10(7), 453; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/brainsci10070453 - 15 Jul 2020
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 1177
Abstract
Diagnostics of Multiple Sclerosis (MS) are essentially based on the gold standard magnetic resonance imaging. Few alternative simple assays are available to follow up disease activity. Considering that the disease can remain elusive for years, identification of antibodies fluctuating in biological fluids as [...] Read more.
Diagnostics of Multiple Sclerosis (MS) are essentially based on the gold standard magnetic resonance imaging. Few alternative simple assays are available to follow up disease activity. Considering that the disease can remain elusive for years, identification of antibodies fluctuating in biological fluids as relevant biomarkers of immune response is a challenge. In previous studies, we reported that anti-N-glucosylated (N-Glc) peptide antibodies that can be easily detected in Solid-Phase Enzyme-Linked ImmunoSorbent Assays (SP-ELISA) on MS patients’ sera preferentially recognize hyperglucosylated adhesin of non-typeable Haemophilus Influenzae. Since multivalency can be useful for diagnostic purposes to allow an efficient coating in ELISA, we report herein the development of a collection of Multiple N-glucosylated Peptide Epitopes (N-Glc MEPs) to detect anti-N-Glc antibodies in MS. To this aim, a series of N-Glc peptide antigens to be represented in the N-GlcMEPs were tested in competitive ELISA. We confirmed that the epitope recognized by antibodies shall contain at least 5-mer sequences including the fundamental N-Glc moiety. Using a 4-branched dendrimeric lysine scaffold, we selected the N-Glc MEP 24, carrying the minimal epitope Asn(Glc) anchored to a polyethylene glycol-based spacer (PEG) containing a 19-atoms chain, as an efficient multivalent probe to reveal specific and high affinity anti-N-Glc antibodies in MS. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Advances in Multiple Sclerosis Research—Series I)
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Article
HLA-DPB1*03 as Risk Allele and HLA-DPB1*04 as Protective Allele for Both Early- and Adult-Onset Multiple Sclerosis in a Hellenic Cohort
Brain Sci. 2020, 10(6), 374; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/brainsci10060374 - 16 Jun 2020
Cited by 2 | Viewed by 1030
Abstract
Background: Human Leucocyte Antigens (HLA) represent the genetic loci most strongly linked to Multiple Sclerosis (MS). Apart from HLA-DR and HLA–DQ, HLA-DP alleles have been previously studied regarding their role in MS pathogenesis, but to a much lesser extent. Our objective [...] Read more.
Background: Human Leucocyte Antigens (HLA) represent the genetic loci most strongly linked to Multiple Sclerosis (MS). Apart from HLA-DR and HLA–DQ, HLA-DP alleles have been previously studied regarding their role in MS pathogenesis, but to a much lesser extent. Our objective was to investigate the risk/resistance influence of HLA-DPB1 alleles in Hellenic patients with early- and adult-onset MS (EOMS/AOMS), and possible associations with the HLA-DRB1*15:01 risk allele. Methods: One hundred MS-patients (28 EOMS, 72 AOMS) fulfilling the McDonald-2010 criteria were enrolled. HLA genotyping was performed with standard low-resolution Sequence-Specific Oligonucleotide techniques. Demographics, clinical and laboratory data were statistically processed using well-defined parametric and nonparametric methods and the SPSSv22.0 software. Results: No significant HLA-DPB1 differences were found between EOMS and AOMS patients for 23 distinct HLA-DPB1 and 12 HLA-DRB1 alleles. The HLA-DPB1*03 allele frequency was found to be significantly increased, and the HLA-DPB1*02 allele frequency significantly decreased, in AOMS patients compared to controls. The HLA-DPB1*04 allele was to be found significantly decreased in AOMS and EOMS patients compared to controls. Conclusions: Our study supports the previously reported risk susceptibility role of the HLA-DPB1*03 allele in AOMS among Caucasians. Additionally, we report for the first time a protective role of the HLA-DPB1*04 allele among Hellenic patients with both EOMS and AOMS. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Advances in Multiple Sclerosis Research—Series I)
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Article
Comprehensive Analysis of the Immune and Stromal Compartments of the CNS in EAE Mice Reveal Pathways by Which Chloroquine Suppresses Neuroinflammation
Brain Sci. 2020, 10(6), 348; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/brainsci10060348 - 05 Jun 2020
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 1129
Abstract
Multiple sclerosis (MS) and experimental autoimmune encephalomyelitis (EAE) are neuroinflammatory diseases of the central nervous system (CNS), where leukocytes and CNS resident cells play important roles in disease development and pathogenesis. The antimalarial drug chloroquine (CQ) has been shown to suppress EAE by [...] Read more.
Multiple sclerosis (MS) and experimental autoimmune encephalomyelitis (EAE) are neuroinflammatory diseases of the central nervous system (CNS), where leukocytes and CNS resident cells play important roles in disease development and pathogenesis. The antimalarial drug chloroquine (CQ) has been shown to suppress EAE by modulating dendritic cells (DCs) and Th17 cells. However, the mechanism of action by which CQ modulates EAE is far from being elucidated. Here, we comprehensively analyzed the CNS of CQ and PBS-treated EAE mice to identify and characterize the cells that are affected by CQ. Our results show that leukocytes are largely modulated by CQ and have a reduction in the expression of inflammatory markers. Intriguingly, CQ vastly modulated the CNS resident cells astrocytes, oligodendrocytes (OLs) and microglia (MG), with the latter producing IL-10 and IL-12p70. Overall, our results show a panoramic view of the cellular components that are affect by CQ and provide further evidence that drug repurposing of CQ will be beneficial to MS patients. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Advances in Multiple Sclerosis Research—Series I)
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Article
Kappa Free Light Chains and IgG Combined in a Novel Algorithm for the Detection of Multiple Sclerosis
Brain Sci. 2020, 10(6), 324; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/brainsci10060324 - 27 May 2020
Cited by 3 | Viewed by 1231
Abstract
Background: It is well known that the cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) concentrations of free light chains (FLC) and immunoglobulin G (IgG) are elevated in multiple sclerosis patients (MS). Therefore, in this study we aimed to develop a model based on the concentrations of free [...] Read more.
Background: It is well known that the cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) concentrations of free light chains (FLC) and immunoglobulin G (IgG) are elevated in multiple sclerosis patients (MS). Therefore, in this study we aimed to develop a model based on the concentrations of free light chains and IgG to predict multiple sclerosis. We tried to evaluate the diagnostic usefulness of the novel κIgG index and λIgG index, here presented for the first time, and compare them with the κFLC index and the λFLC index in multiple sclerosis patients. Methods: CSF and serum samples were obtained from 76 subjects who underwent lumbar puncture for diagnostic purposes and, as a result, were divided into two groups: patients with multiple sclerosis (n = 34) and patients with other neurological disorders (control group; n = 42). The samples were analyzed using turbidimetry and isoelectric focusing. The κIgG index, λIgG index, κFLC index, and λFLC index were calculated using specific formulas. Results: The concentrations of CSF κFLC, CSF λFLC, and serum κFLC and the values of κFLC index, λFLC index, and κIgG index were significantly higher in patients with multiple sclerosis compared to controls. CSF κFLC concentration and the values of κFLC index, λFLC index, and κIgG index differed in patients depending on their pattern type of oligoclonal bands. κFLC concentration was significantly higher in patients with pattern type 2 and type 3 in comparison to those with pattern type 1 and type 4. The κFLC index, λFLC index, and κIgG index were significantly higher in patients with pattern type 2 in comparison to those with pattern type 4. The κFLC index and κIgG index were significantly higher in patients with pattern type 2 in comparison to those with pattern type 1, and in patients with pattern type 3 compared to those with pattern type 4. The κIgG index was markedly elevated in patients with pattern type 3 compared to those with pattern type 1. In the total study group, κFLC, λFLC, κFLC index, λFLC index, κIgG index, and λIgG index correlated with each other. The κIgG index showed the highest diagnostic power (area under the curve, AUC) in the detection of multiple sclerosis. The κFLC index and κIgG index showed the highest diagnostic sensitivity, and the κIgG index presented the highest ability to exclude multiple sclerosis. Conclusion: This study provides novel information about the diagnostic significance of four markers combined in the κIgG index. More investigations in larger study groups are needed to confirm that the κIgG index can reflect the intrathecal synthesis of immunoglobulins and may improve the diagnosis of multiple sclerosis. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Advances in Multiple Sclerosis Research—Series I)
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Article
Streptococcus thermophilus ST285 Alters Pro-Inflammatory to Anti-Inflammatory Cytokine Secretion against Multiple Sclerosis Peptide in Mice
Brain Sci. 2020, 10(2), 126; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/brainsci10020126 - 23 Feb 2020
Cited by 12 | Viewed by 2281
Abstract
Probiotic bacteria have beneficial effects to the development and maintenance of a healthy microflora that subsequently has health benefits to humans. Some of the health benefits attributed to probiotics have been noted to be via their immune modulatory properties suppressing inflammatory conditions. Hence, [...] Read more.
Probiotic bacteria have beneficial effects to the development and maintenance of a healthy microflora that subsequently has health benefits to humans. Some of the health benefits attributed to probiotics have been noted to be via their immune modulatory properties suppressing inflammatory conditions. Hence, probiotics have become prominent in recent years of investigation with regard to their health benefits. As such, in the current study, we determined the effects of Streptococcus thermophilus to agonist MBP83–99 peptide immunized mouse spleen cells. It was noted that Streptococcus thermophilus induced a significant increase in the expression of anti-inflammatory IL-4, IL-5, IL-10 cytokines, and decreased the secretion of pro-inflammatory IL-1β and IFN-γ. Regular consumption of Streptococcus thermophilus may therefore be beneficial in the management and treatment of autoimmune diseases such as multiple sclerosis. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Advances in Multiple Sclerosis Research—Series I)
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Communication
No Immediate Effects of Transcranial Direct Current Stimulation at Various Intensities on Cerebral Blood Flow in People with Multiple Sclerosis
Brain Sci. 2020, 10(2), 82; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/brainsci10020082 - 04 Feb 2020
Cited by 3 | Viewed by 1292
Abstract
Animal and transcranial magnetic stimulation motors have evoked potential studies suggesting that the currently used transcranial direct current stimulation (tDCS) intensities produce measurable physiological changes. However, the validity, mechanisms, and general efficacy of this stimulation modality are currently being scrutinized. The purpose of [...] Read more.
Animal and transcranial magnetic stimulation motors have evoked potential studies suggesting that the currently used transcranial direct current stimulation (tDCS) intensities produce measurable physiological changes. However, the validity, mechanisms, and general efficacy of this stimulation modality are currently being scrutinized. The purpose of this pilot study was to investigate the effects of dorsolateral prefrontal cortex tDCS on cerebral blood flow. A sample of three people with multiple sclerosis underwent two blocks of five randomly assigned tDCS intensities (1, 2, 3, 4 mA, and sham; 5 min each) and [15O]water positron emission tomography imaging. The relative regional (i.e., areas under the electrodes) and global cerebral blood flow were calculated. The results revealed no notable differences in regional or global cerebral blood flow from the different tDCS intensities. Thus, 5 min of tDCS at 1, 2, 3, and 4 mA did not result in immediate changes in cerebral blood flow. To achieve sufficient magnitudes of intracranial electrical fields without direct peripheral side effects, novel methods may be required. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Advances in Multiple Sclerosis Research—Series I)
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Article
Impaired Expression of Tetraspanin 32 (TSPAN32) in Memory T Cells of Patients with Multiple Sclerosis
Brain Sci. 2020, 10(1), 52; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/brainsci10010052 - 17 Jan 2020
Cited by 8 | Viewed by 1616
Abstract
Tetraspanins are a conserved family of proteins involved in a number of biological processes. We have previously shown that Tetraspanin-32 (TSPAN32) is significantly downregulated upon activation of T helper cells via anti-CD3/CD28 stimulation. On the other hand, TSPAN32 is marginally modulated in activated [...] Read more.
Tetraspanins are a conserved family of proteins involved in a number of biological processes. We have previously shown that Tetraspanin-32 (TSPAN32) is significantly downregulated upon activation of T helper cells via anti-CD3/CD28 stimulation. On the other hand, TSPAN32 is marginally modulated in activated Treg cells. A role for TSPAN32 in controlling the development of autoimmune responses is consistent with our observation that encephalitogenic T cells from myelin oligodendrocyte glycoprotein (MOG)-induced experimental autoimmune encephalomyelitis (EAE) mice exhibit significantly lower levels of TSPAN32 as compared to naïve T cells. In the present study, by making use of ex vivo and in silico analysis, we aimed to better characterize the pathophysiological and diagnostic/prognostic role of TSPAN32 in T cell immunity and in multiple sclerosis (MS). We first show that TSPAN32 is significantly downregulated in memory T cells as compared to naïve T cells, and that it is further diminished upon ex vivo restimulation. Accordingly, following antigenic stimulation, myelin-specific memory T cells from MS patients showed significantly lower expression of TSPAN32 as compared to memory T cells from healthy donors (HD). The expression levels of TSPAN32 was significantly downregulated in peripheral blood mononuclear cells (PBMCs) from drug-naïve MS patients as compared to HD, irrespective of the disease state. Finally, when comparing patients undergoing early relapses in comparison to patients with longer stable disease, moderate but significantly lower levels of TSPAN32 expression were observed in PBMCs from the former group. Our data suggest a role for TSPAN32 in the immune responses underlying the pathophysiology of MS and represent a proof-of-concept for additional studies aiming at dissecting the eventual contribution of TSPAN32 in other autoimmune diseases and its possible use of TSPAN32 as a diagnostic factor and therapeutic target. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Advances in Multiple Sclerosis Research—Series I)
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Article
Cortical Excitability Measures May Predict Clinical Response to Fampridine in Patients with Multiple Sclerosis and Gait Impairment
Brain Sci. 2019, 9(12), 357; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/brainsci9120357 - 05 Dec 2019
Cited by 5 | Viewed by 1302
Abstract
Background: Most multiple sclerosis (MS) patients will develop walking limitations during the disease. Sustained-release oral fampridine is the only approved drug that will improve gait in a subset of MS patients. Objectives: (1) Evaluate fampridine cortical excitability effect in MS patients with gait [...] Read more.
Background: Most multiple sclerosis (MS) patients will develop walking limitations during the disease. Sustained-release oral fampridine is the only approved drug that will improve gait in a subset of MS patients. Objectives: (1) Evaluate fampridine cortical excitability effect in MS patients with gait disability. (2) Investigate whether cortical excitability changes can predict the therapeutic response to fampridine. Method: This prospective observational study enrolled 20 adult patients with MS and gait impairment planned to receive fampridine 10 mg twice daily for two consecutive weeks. Exclusion criteria included: Recent relapse (<3 months), modification of disease modifying drugs (<6 months), or Expanded Disability Status Scale (EDSS) score >7. Neurological examination, timed 25-foot walk test (T25wt), EDSS, and cortical excitability studies were performed upon inclusion and 14 days after initiation of fampridine. Results: After treatment, the mean improvement of T25wt (ΔT25wt) was 4.9 s. Significant enhancement of intra-cortical facilitation was observed (139% versus 241%, p = 0.01) following treatment. A positive correlation was found between baseline resting motor threshold (rMT) and both EDSS (r = 0.57; p < 0.01) and ΔT25wt (r = 0.57, p = 0.01). rMT above 52% of the maximal stimulator output was found to be a good predictor of a favorable response to fampridine (accuracy: 75%). Discussion: Fampridine was found to have a significant modulatory effect on the cerebral cortex, demonstrated by an increase in excitatory intracortical processes as unveiled by paired-pulse transcranial magnetic stimulation. rMT could be useful in selecting patients likely to experience a favorable response to fampridine. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Advances in Multiple Sclerosis Research—Series I)
Article
Lost in Classification: Lower Cognitive Functioning in Apparently Cognitive Normal Newly Diagnosed RRMS Patients
Brain Sci. 2019, 9(11), 321; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/brainsci9110321 - 13 Nov 2019
Cited by 11 | Viewed by 1261
Abstract
Cognitive functioning in multiple sclerosis (MS) patients is usually related to the classic, dichotomic classification of impaired vs. unimpaired cognition. However, this approach is far from mirroring the real efficiency of cognitive functioning. Applying a different approach in which cognitive functioning is considered [...] Read more.
Cognitive functioning in multiple sclerosis (MS) patients is usually related to the classic, dichotomic classification of impaired vs. unimpaired cognition. However, this approach is far from mirroring the real efficiency of cognitive functioning. Applying a different approach in which cognitive functioning is considered as a continuous variable, we aimed at showing that even newly diagnosed relapsing–remitting MS (RRMS) patients might suffer from reduced cognitive functioning with respect to a matched group of neurologically healthy controls (HCs), even if they were classified as having no cognitive impairment (CI). Fifty newly diagnosed RRMS patients and 36 HCs were tested with an extensive battery of neuropsychological tests. By using Z-scores applied to the whole group of RRMS and HCs together, a measure of cognitive functioning (Z-score index) was calculated. Among the 50 RRMS patients tested, 36 were classified as cognitively normal (CN). Even though classified as CN, RRMS patients performed worse than HCs at a global level (p = 0.004) and, more specifically, in the domains of memory (p = 0.005) and executive functioning (p = 0.006). These results highlight that reduced cognitive functioning can be present early in the disease course, even in patients without an evident CI. The current classification criteria of CI in MS should be considered with caution. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Advances in Multiple Sclerosis Research—Series I)
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Article
Therapeutic Plasma Exchange in Multiple Sclerosis and Autoimmune Encephalitis: A Comparative Study of Indication, Efficacy, and Safety
Brain Sci. 2019, 9(10), 267; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/brainsci9100267 - 09 Oct 2019
Cited by 6 | Viewed by 1571
Abstract
Therapeutic plasma exchange (TPE) is a well-established method of treatment for steroid-refractory relapses in multiple sclerosis (MS) and neuromyelitis optica spectrum disorders (NMOSD). Little is known about indications and clinical responses to TPE in autoimmune encephalitis and other immune-mediated disorders of the central [...] Read more.
Therapeutic plasma exchange (TPE) is a well-established method of treatment for steroid-refractory relapses in multiple sclerosis (MS) and neuromyelitis optica spectrum disorders (NMOSD). Little is known about indications and clinical responses to TPE in autoimmune encephalitis and other immune-mediated disorders of the central nervous system (CNS). We performed a retrospective chart review of patients with immune-mediated disorders of the CNS undergoing TPE at our tertiary care center between 2003 and 2015. The response to TPE within a 3- to 6-month follow-up was scored with an established rating system. We identified 40 patients including 21 patients with multiple sclerosis (MS, 52.5%), 12 with autoimmune encephalitis (AE, 30%), and 7 with other immune-mediated CNS disorders (17.5%). Among patients with AE, eight patients had definite AE (Immunolobulin G for N-methyl-D-aspartate receptor n = 4, Leucine-rich, glioma inactivated 1 n = 2, Ma 2 n = 1, and Alpha-amino-3-hydroxy-5-methyl-4-isoxazolepropionic Acid n = 1). Intravenous immunoglobulins had been given prior to TPE in all but one patient with AE, and indications were dominated by acute psychosis and epileptic seizures. While TPE has a distinct place in the treatment sequence of different immune-mediated CNS disorders, we found consistent efficacy and safety. Further research should be directed toward alternative management strategies in non-responders. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Advances in Multiple Sclerosis Research—Series I)
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Article
Sample Size for Oxidative Stress and Inflammation When Treating Multiple Sclerosis with Interferon-β1a and Coenzyme Q10
Brain Sci. 2019, 9(10), 259; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/brainsci9100259 - 27 Sep 2019
Cited by 4 | Viewed by 1306
Abstract
Studying multiple sclerosis (MS) and its treatments requires the use of biomarkers for underlying pathological mechanisms. We aim to estimate the required sample size for detecting variations of biomarkers of inflammation and oxidative stress. This is a post-hoc analysis on 60 relapsing-remitting MS [...] Read more.
Studying multiple sclerosis (MS) and its treatments requires the use of biomarkers for underlying pathological mechanisms. We aim to estimate the required sample size for detecting variations of biomarkers of inflammation and oxidative stress. This is a post-hoc analysis on 60 relapsing-remitting MS patients treated with Interferon-β1a and Coenzyme Q10 for 3 months in an open-label crossover design over 6 months. At baseline and at the 3 and 6-month visits, we measured markers of scavenging activity, oxidative damage, and inflammation in the peripheral blood (180 measurements). Variations of laboratory measures (treatment effect) were estimated using mixed-effect linear regression models (including age, gender, disease duration, baseline expanded disability status scale (EDSS), and the duration of Interferon-β1a treatment as covariates; creatinine was also included for uric acid analyses), and were used for sample size calculations. Hypothesizing a clinical trial aiming to detect a 70% effect in 3 months (power = 80% alpha-error = 5%), the sample size per treatment arm would be 1 for interleukin (IL)-3 and IL-5, 4 for IL-7 and IL-2R, 6 for IL-13, 14 for IL-6, 22 for IL-8, 23 for IL-4, 25 for activation-normal T cell expressed and secreted (RANTES), 26 for tumor necrosis factor (TNF)-α, 27 for IL-1β, and 29 for uric acid. Peripheral biomarkers of oxidative stress and inflammation could be used in proof-of-concept studies to quickly screen the mechanisms of action of MS treatments. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Advances in Multiple Sclerosis Research—Series I)
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Review

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Review
A Journey to the Conformational Analysis of T-Cell Epitope Peptides Involved in Multiple Sclerosis
Brain Sci. 2020, 10(6), 356; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/brainsci10060356 - 08 Jun 2020
Cited by 2 | Viewed by 1148
Abstract
Multiple sclerosis (MS) is a serious central nervous system (CNS) disease responsible for disability problems and deterioration of the quality of life. Several approaches have been applied to medications entering the market to treat this disease. However, no effective therapy currently exists, and [...] Read more.
Multiple sclerosis (MS) is a serious central nervous system (CNS) disease responsible for disability problems and deterioration of the quality of life. Several approaches have been applied to medications entering the market to treat this disease. However, no effective therapy currently exists, and the available drugs simply ameliorate the destructive disability effects of the disease. In this review article, we report on the efforts that have been conducted towards establishing the conformational properties of wild-type myelin basic protein (MBP), myelin proteolipid protein (PLP), myelin oligodendrocyte glycoprotein (MOG) epitopes or altered peptide ligands (ALPs). These efforts have led to the aim of discovering some non-peptide mimetics possessing considerable activity against the disease. These efforts have contributed also to unveiling the molecular basis of the molecular interactions implicated in the trimolecular complex, T-cell receptor (TCR)–peptide–major histocompatibility complex (MHC) or human leucocyte antigen (HLA). Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Advances in Multiple Sclerosis Research—Series I)
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Review
Promising Nanotechnology Approaches in Treatment of Autoimmune Diseases of Central Nervous System
Brain Sci. 2020, 10(6), 338; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/brainsci10060338 - 02 Jun 2020
Cited by 10 | Viewed by 1519
Abstract
Multiple sclerosis (MS) is a chronic, autoimmune, neurodegenerative disease of the central nervous system (CNS) that yields to neuronal axon damage, demyelization, and paralysis. Although several drugs were designed for the treatment of MS, with some of them being approved in the last [...] Read more.
Multiple sclerosis (MS) is a chronic, autoimmune, neurodegenerative disease of the central nervous system (CNS) that yields to neuronal axon damage, demyelization, and paralysis. Although several drugs were designed for the treatment of MS, with some of them being approved in the last few decades, the complete remission and the treatment of progressive forms still remain a matter of debate and a medical challenge. Nanotechnology provides a variety of promising therapeutic tools that can be applied for the treatment of MS, overcoming the barriers and the limitations of the already existing immunosuppressive and biological therapies. In the present review, we explore literature case studies on the development of drug delivery nanosystems for the targeted delivery of MS drugs in the pathological tissues of the CNS, providing high bioavailability and enhanced therapeutic efficiency, as well as nanosystems for the delivery of agents to facilitate efficient remyelination. Moreover, we present examples of tolerance-inducing nanocarriers, being used as promising vaccines for antigen-specific immunotherapy of MS. We emphasize on liposomes, as well as lipid- and polymer-based nanoparticles. Finally, we highlight the future perspectives given by the nanotechnology field toward the improvement of the current treatment of MS and its animal model, experimental autoimmune encephalomyelitis (EAE). Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Advances in Multiple Sclerosis Research—Series I)
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Review
Recent Advances in Antigen-Specific Immunotherapies for the Treatment of Multiple Sclerosis
Brain Sci. 2020, 10(6), 333; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/brainsci10060333 - 29 May 2020
Cited by 8 | Viewed by 1848
Abstract
Multiple sclerosis (MS) is an autoimmune disease of the central nervous system and is considered to be the leading non-traumatic cause of neurological disability in young adults. Current treatments for MS comprise long-term immunosuppressant drugs and disease-modifying therapies (DMTs) designed to alter its [...] Read more.
Multiple sclerosis (MS) is an autoimmune disease of the central nervous system and is considered to be the leading non-traumatic cause of neurological disability in young adults. Current treatments for MS comprise long-term immunosuppressant drugs and disease-modifying therapies (DMTs) designed to alter its progress with the enhanced risk of severe side effects. The Holy Grail for the treatment of MS is to specifically suppress the disease while at the same time allow the immune system to be functionally active against infectious diseases and malignancy. This could be achieved via the development of immunotherapies designed to specifically suppress immune responses to self-antigens (e.g., myelin antigens). The present study attempts to highlight the various antigen-specific immunotherapies developed so far for the treatment of multiple sclerosis (e.g., vaccination with myelin-derived peptides/proteins, plasmid DNA encoding myelin epitopes, tolerogenic dendritic cells pulsed with encephalitogenic epitopes of myelin proteins, attenuated autologous T cells specific for myelin antigens, T cell receptor peptides, carriers loaded/conjugated with myelin immunodominant peptides, etc.), focusing on the outcome of their recent preclinical and clinical evaluation, and to shed light on the mechanisms involved in the immunopathogenesis and treatment of multiple sclerosis. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Advances in Multiple Sclerosis Research—Series I)
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Review
Molecular Interventions towards Multiple Sclerosis Treatment
Brain Sci. 2020, 10(5), 299; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/brainsci10050299 - 15 May 2020
Cited by 4 | Viewed by 1649
Abstract
Multiple sclerosis (MS) is an autoimmune life-threatening disease, afflicting millions of people worldwide. Although the disease is non-curable, considerable therapeutic advances have been achieved through molecular immunotherapeutic approaches, such as peptides vaccination, administration of monoclonal antibodies, and immunogenic copolymers. The main aims of [...] Read more.
Multiple sclerosis (MS) is an autoimmune life-threatening disease, afflicting millions of people worldwide. Although the disease is non-curable, considerable therapeutic advances have been achieved through molecular immunotherapeutic approaches, such as peptides vaccination, administration of monoclonal antibodies, and immunogenic copolymers. The main aims of these therapeutic strategies are to shift the MS-related autoimmune response towards a non-inflammatory T helper 2 (Th2) cells response, inactivate or ameliorate cytotoxic autoreactive T cells, induce secretion of anti-inflammatory cytokines, and inhibit recruitment of autoreactive lymphocytes to the central nervous system (CNS). These approaches can efficiently treat autoimmune encephalomyelitis (EAE), an essential system to study MS in animals, but they can only partially inhibit disease progress in humans. Nevertheless, modern immunotherapeutic techniques remain the most promising tools for the development of safe MS treatments, specifically targeting the cellular factors that trigger the initiation of the disease. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Advances in Multiple Sclerosis Research—Series I)
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Review
Microbiome in Multiple Sclerosis: Where Are We, What We Know and Do Not Know
Brain Sci. 2020, 10(4), 234; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/brainsci10040234 - 14 Apr 2020
Cited by 18 | Viewed by 2271
Abstract
An increase of multiple sclerosis (MS) incidence has been reported during the last decade, and this may be connected to environmental factors. This review article aims to encapsulate the current advances targeting the study of the gut–brain axis, which mediates the communication between [...] Read more.
An increase of multiple sclerosis (MS) incidence has been reported during the last decade, and this may be connected to environmental factors. This review article aims to encapsulate the current advances targeting the study of the gut–brain axis, which mediates the communication between the central nervous system and the gut microbiome. Clinical data arising from many research studies, which have assessed the effects of administered disease-modifying treatments in MS patients to the gut microbiome, are also recapitulated. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Advances in Multiple Sclerosis Research—Series I)
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Other

Case Report
Autoimmune Encephalitis and CSF Anti-GluR3 Antibodies in an MS Patient after Alemtuzumab Treatment
Brain Sci. 2019, 9(11), 299; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/brainsci9110299 - 30 Oct 2019
Cited by 4 | Viewed by 1292
Abstract
A 45-year-old Italian woman, affected by relapsing–remitting multiple sclerosis (RR-MS) starting from 2011, started treatment with alemtuzumab in July 2016. Nine months after the second infusion, she had an immune thrombocytopenic purpura (ITP) with complete recovery after steroid treatment. Three months after the [...] Read more.
A 45-year-old Italian woman, affected by relapsing–remitting multiple sclerosis (RR-MS) starting from 2011, started treatment with alemtuzumab in July 2016. Nine months after the second infusion, she had an immune thrombocytopenic purpura (ITP) with complete recovery after steroid treatment. Three months after the ITP, the patient presented with transient aphasia, cognitive deficits, and focal epilepsy. Serial brain magnetic resonance imaging showed a pattern compatible with encephalitis. Autoantibodies to glutamate receptor 3 peptide A and B were detected in cerebrospinal fluid and serum, in the absence of any other diagnostic cues. After three courses of intravenous immunoglobulin (0.4 mg/kg/day for 5 days, 1 month apart), followed by boosters (0.4 mg/kg/day) every 4–6 weeks, her neurological status improved and is currently comparable with that preceding the encephalitis. Autoimmune complications of the central nervous system during alemtuzumab therapy are relatively rare: only one previous case of autoimmune encephalitis following alemtuzumab treatment has been reported to date. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Advances in Multiple Sclerosis Research—Series I)
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Case Report
Post-Craniopharyngioma and Cranial Nerve-VI Palsy Update on a MS Patient with Major Depression and Concurrent Neuroimmune Conditions
Brain Sci. 2019, 9(10), 281; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/brainsci9100281 - 17 Oct 2019
Cited by 4 | Viewed by 1276
Abstract
We report the case of a male multiple sclerosis (MS) patient with type 2 diabetes (T2D), asthma, major depression (MD or major depressive disorder, MDD), and other chronic conditions, after his recent difficulties with craniopharyngioma and cranial nerve-VI (CN6) palsy. In addition, we [...] Read more.
We report the case of a male multiple sclerosis (MS) patient with type 2 diabetes (T2D), asthma, major depression (MD or major depressive disorder, MDD), and other chronic conditions, after his recent difficulties with craniopharyngioma and cranial nerve-VI (CN6) palsy. In addition, we show magnetic resonance image and spectroscopy (MRI, MRS), Humphrey’s Visual Field (HVF), and retinal nerve fiber layer thickness (RNFLT) findings to explain the changes in the patient’s health, and discuss the methods that helped/help him sustain productivity and euthymia despite long-standing problems and new CNS changes. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Advances in Multiple Sclerosis Research—Series I)
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