Conference Coverage

Hot topic explores neuropathologic differences between MS individuals



One of the first sessions to begin the annual congress of the European Committee for Treatment and Research in Multiple Sclerosis in Berlin takes a close look at how researchers are honing in on the mechanisms and cellular and molecular mediators that shape the ways in which multiple sclerosis neuropathology differs between individuals.

In the first presentation of the session “Hot Topic 1: Hot topics in MS neuropathology” at 8:00 a.m. (local time) on Oct. 10, Bruce Trapp, PhD, will present the details of the recently published study that he and his associates at the Cleveland Clinic in Ohio conducted on the brains of postmortem MS patients. They describe a new disease subtype, called myelocortical MS, that they characterized through 12 postmortem MS brains in which there was cortical neuronal loss and demyelination of spinal cord and cerebral cortex in the absence of cerebral white matter demyelination.

But what might be driving the degeneration of cerebral gray matter in MS patients, particularly in the cortex? Roberta Magliozzi, PhD, of the University of Verona (Italy), will follow Dr. Trapp’s talk with a presentation of recent neuropathologic findings describing a specific inflammatory protein profile in cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) stemming from meningeal infiltrates and circulating cells in the subarachnoid space that could account for differences in the speed of physical and cognitive disability progression between individuals with MS. Earlier research by Dr. Magliozzi and her colleagues characterized some of these CSF biomarkers. Whether the specific CSF inflammatory pattern proves to be a good surrogate for meningeal inflammation and thereby a good predictor of which MS patients may develop more severe gray matter demyelination and a higher risk of disease progression needs to be examined further.

In the final talk, Claudia Lucchinetti, MD, of the Mayo Clinic, Rochester, Minn., will describe the latest understanding of the pathology of radiologically isolated syndrome.

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