Objective: To extend our studies on the prolonged and differential effect of natalizumab on T lymphocyte numbers in the cerebrospinal fluid, we investigated the number and phenotypes of leukocytes and the expression of major histocompatibility complex (MHC) classes I and II in cerebral perivascular spaces (CPVS). We hypothesized that natalizumab reduces the number of antigen presenting cells in CPVS.
Design: A case-control study in which inflammatory cell numbers in the CPVS of cerebral tissue were assessed by immunohistochemical staining.
Subjects: A patient with multiple sclerosis (MS) who developed progressive multifocal leukoencephalopathy (PML) during natalizumab therapy. Controls included location-matched cerebral autopsy material of patients without disease of the central nervous system, patients with MS not treated with natalizumab, and patients with PML not associated with natalizumab therapy.
Results: The absolute number of CPVS in the patient with MS treated with natalizumab was significantly lower than in the control groups owing to extensive destruction of the tissue architecture. The expression of MHC class II molecules and the number of CD209+ dendritic cells were significantly decreased in the CPVS of the patient with MS treated with natalizumab. No CD4+ T cells were detectable.
Conclusions: Our observations may explain the differential and prolonged effects of natalizumab therapy on leukocyte numbers in the cerebrospinal fluid.