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AAN: KIR4.1 Antibodies Present in Plasma in Pre-Clinical MS

Pre-clinical MS patients have significantly higher KIR4.1 antibody titers than controls

AAN: KIR4.1 Antibodies Present in Plasma in Pre-Clinical MS

MONDAY, Feb. 24, 2014 (HealthDay News) -- KIR4.1 antibodies are present in multiple sclerosis (MS) patients years before symptom onset, according to a study released in advance of the annual meeting of the American Academy of Neurology, which will be held from April 26 to May 3 in Philadelphia.

Viola Biberacher, M.D., from the Technical University in Munich, and colleagues screened 16 healthy donors with subsequent diagnosis of MS for KIR4.1-specific antibodies using plasma samples collected two to nine months before the first clinical attack. Samples from 16 age- and sex-matched healthy blood donors without notification of later MS were used as controls. In KIR4.1 antibody-positive patients, samples were investigated at additional time points before (up to six years) and after disease onset.

The researchers found that KIR4.1 antibody titers were significantly higher for pre-clinical MS patients than healthy controls (P = 0.0185). Seven of the pre-clinical patients were considered KIR4.1 antibody positive, while two had borderline activity and seven were found to be negative. All healthy controls were also KIR4.1 antibody negative. In the longitudinal analysis, pre-clinical MS patients had KIR4.1 antibodies several years prior to the first clinical attack. In individual pre-clinical MS patients, antibody titers varied at different time points. There was no significant difference in titers before and after disease onset.

"This finding also demonstrates that the antibody development to the KIR4.1 protein, a protein found in some people with MS, precedes the clinical onset of disease, suggesting a role of the autoantibody in how the disease develops," Biberacher said in a statement.

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