Purpose: To characterize gene expression in multiple sclerosis (MS) patients after the first dose and chronic dosing of 30 microg, once weekly, intramuscular interferon-beta1a (IFN-beta) and to delineate the pharmacogenomic differences between Good Responders and Partial Responders to IFN-beta therapy.
Methods: The treatment responses after the first IFN-beta dose and chronic IFN-beta dosing were assessed in 22 relapsing MS patients (17 females, 5 males; average age: 41.5+/-SD 10.4 years). Gene expression profiles in peripheral blood mononuclear cells were obtained prior to treatment and at 1, 2, 4, 8, 24, 48, 120, 168 h after the first IFN-beta dose and at 1, 6 and 12 months after chronic dosing with once-weekly 30 microg IFN-beta-1a intramuscularly. Repeated measures statistics with false discovery rate control were used. The functional characteristics, biological pathways and transcription factor sites were analyzed.
Results: Of the 1000 genes modulated following the first dose and upon chronic dosing of IFN-beta in MS patients, approximately 35% were up-regulated and 65% were down- regulated; the percentage of modulated genes in common was approximately 50%. The expression of the pharmacodynamic mRNA markers of IFN-beta effect showed differences in time profiles for the Good Responder and Partial Responders to IFN-beta therapy and the Jak-STAT, TNFRSF10B, IL6, TGFbeta, retinoic acid and CDC42 pathways were differentially modulated. The patients with side effects to therapy showed differences in the TGFbeta1, IFNG/STAT3 and TNF pathways.
Conclusions: Gene expression is a valuable tool for understanding the molecular mechanisms of IFN-beta action in MS patients.