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Monday, September 28, 2015

Brain-specific B Cells’ Reactivity Determines Glatiramer Acetate Therapy Success in MS Patients

Brain-specific B Cells' Reactivity Determines Glatiramer Acetate Therapy Success in MS Patients Sept 24, 2015

In a new study entitled “The brain antigen-specific B cell response correlates with glatiramer acetate responsiveness in relapsing-remitting multiple sclerosis patients,” a team of scientists discovered that differences in response to glatiramer acetate therapy among multiple sclerosis (MS) patients is potentially dependent on the presence of reactive brain-specific B cells in the patient’s blood. The study was published in the journal Scientific Reports.
MS is a chronic autoimmune disease where the patient’s own immune system attacks myelin, a component of nerve fibers that are part of the central nervous system. The disease is characterized by an initial inflammatory response that precedes demyelination and degeneration of nerve cells. MS has no cure and currently affects more than 2.3 million people in the world.
The role of B cells, a type of white blood cell and a key player in humoral immunity (antibody-mediated immunity), in the pathology of MS remains largely unaddressed.
As observed in previous findings, the researchers discovered that MS patients exhibited a brain-reactive B cell response in the blood. However, they also found that the presence of brain-specific B cells is crucial for patients’ responses to glatiramer acetate (GA) therapy in relapsing-remitting MS patients. GA is approved as a first-line immunotherapy currently used in MS, and although its mechanisms of action are unclear, it is thought to act by inhibiting the targeted immune response against myelin. This mechanism of action may occur due to its resemblance to the myelin protein, acting as a decoy to divert the autoimmune response away from myelin.

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