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Predictive value of CSF Aβ and tau proteins in MS

MS Virtual 2020
A prospective study showed that 2 neurodegenerative biomarkers in cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) –beta-amyloid (Aβ) and especially tau– can help identify early-onset disability and unfavourable prognosis in MS patients, independent of age [1].

Not a single biomarker of axonal damage in MS is routinely used in clinical practice. An Italian group set out to evaluate if CSF Aβ and tau protein concentrations collected at diagnosis can predict early MS disability. They also investigated if these 2 biomarkers correlate with other radiological prognostic markers collected at baseline, i.e. global T2 white matter lesion load and spinal cord lesions. Demographic, clinical, and radiological data were collected at baseline and at the most recent clinical follow-up. Early disability was measured using the MS Severity Score (MSSS) and the MSSS age-related score (ARMSS) at the most recent follow-up. A total of 109 MS patients (82 with relapsing-remitting MS) were followed for a mean period of 4 years.

Patients with higher CSF tau levels at baseline had higher MSSS (R=0.3361; P=0.0003) and ARMSS (R=0.3088; P=0.001) at follow-up. There was no correlation between CSF Aβ and markers of early disability. Patients with spinal cord involvement showed a trend towards higher tau levels. In patients with higher white matter lesion load, there was a trend towards higher tau and lower Aβ. There was a significant correlation between CSF tau and early disability, measured either with MSSS (β=0.258; P=0.009) or ARMSS (β=0.252; P=0.001).

These results led the researchers to conclude that CSF tau and Aβ may correlate with negative prognostic factors at MS diagnosis, particularly with high lesion load and spinal cord involvement. CSF tau may be able to help predict early disability.

  1. Virgilio E, et al. Biomarkers of neurodegeneration, in particular Tau protein, may predict early disability in Multiple Sclerosis patients. MSVirtual 2020, Abstract PS03.02.


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