Diagnostic Cerebrospinal Fluid Biomarker in Early and Late Onset Multiple Sclerosis

The intrathecal humoral response is the characteristic diagnostic finding in the cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) analysis of patients with multiple sclerosis (MS). Although the average age of MS patients increases, little is known about the sensitivity of diagnostic markers in elderly MS patients. Methods: In this retrospective two-center study, intrathecal free light chains kappa fraction (FLCk IF) and oligoclonal bands (OCB) were studied in a large cohort of patients with early and late onset relapsing (RMS) and progressive (PMS) MS. Furthermore, the humoral immune profile in CSF was analyzed, including the polyspecific intrathecal immune response measured as the MRZ reaction. Results: While the frequency of CSF-specific OCB did not differ between early and late onset RMS and PMS, the sensitivity of positive FLCk IF and absolute FLCk IF values were lower in PMS. The positivity of the MRZ reaction was equally frequent in early and late onset RMS and PMS. PMS patients had higher local IgA concentrations than RMS patients (p = 0.0123). Conclusions: OCB are slightly superior to FLCk IF in progressive MS in terms of sensitivity for detecting intrathecal immunoglobulin synthesis. The MRZ reaction, as the most specific parameter for MS, is also applicable in patients with late onset and progressive MS.


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