The aim of the present study was to determine the value of immunogenetic risk factors and to estimate their relationship with the clinical features and disability status of patients with multiple sclerosis in a Lithuanian population.
Materials and methods: This was a prospective study of 80 patients with multiple sclerosis. The diagnosis of multiple sclerosis was based on the revised McDonald criteria. Oligoclonal bands (OCBs) of immunoglobulin G (IgG) were tested using isoelectric focusing and IgG specific immunofixation. HLA DRB1 alleles were genotyped using polymerase chain reaction.
Results: Of all patients, 55% were positive for OCBs and 56% for HLA DRB1*1501. OCB-positive patients with multiple sclerosis had higher EDSS scores than their OCB-negative counterparts at onset of the disease (3.93±1.21 and 3.36±0.96 points, respectively; P=0.02) and during the last visit (4.31±2.06 and 3.09±1.98 points, respectively; P=0.009). The mean relapse rate was higher in the OCB-positive group compared with OCB-negative group (1.45±0.69 and 0.58±0.64, respectively; P=0.001). OCB-positive patients had higher IgG index compared with OCB-negative patients (P=0.0001). No relationship was found between HLA DRB1*1501 antigen status and the clinical features or EDSS score, and presence or absence of OCB in the present subset of patients with multiple sclerosis.
Conclusions: The presence of oligoclonal bands in the cerebrospinal fluid of the patients with multiple sclerosis was associated with the greater number of exacerbations, higher degree of disability, and higher IgG index. There were no significant associations between the presence of HLA DRB1*1501 allele and the clinical symptoms, course of disease, or disability score.