Background: Chronic cerebrospinal venous insufficiency (CCSVI) was described as a vascular condition characterized by anomalies of veins outside the skull was reported to be associated with multiple sclerosis (MS). The objective was to assess the associations between HLA DRB1*1501 status and the occurrence of CCSVI in MS patients.
Methodology/principal findings: This study included 423 of 499 subjects enrolled in the Combined Transcranial and Extracranial Venous Doppler Evaluation (CTEVD) study. The HLA DRB1*1501 status was obtained in 268 MS patients and 155 controls by genotyping rs3135005, a SNP associated with DRB1*1501 status. All subjects underwent a clinical examination and Doppler scan of the head and neck. The frequency of CCSVI was higher (OR = 4.52, p<0.001) in the MS group 56.0% vs. 21.9% in the controls group and also higher in the progressive MS group 69.8% vs. 49.5% in the non-progressive MS group. The 51.9% frequency of HLA DRB1*1501 positivity (HLA(+)) in MS was higher compared (OR = 2.33, p<0.001) to 31.6% to controls. The HLA(+) frequency in the non-progressive (51.6%) and progressive MS groups (52.3%) was similar. The frequency of HLA(+) CCSVI(+) was 40.7% in progressive MS, 27.5% in non-progressive MS and 8.4% in controls. The presence of CCSVI was independent of HLA DRB1*1501 status in MS patients.
Conclusions/significance: The lack of strong associations of CCSVI with HLA DRB1*1501 suggests that the role of the underlying associations of CCSVI in MS should be interpreted with caution. Further longitudinal studies should determine whether interactions between these factors can contribute to disease progression in MS.