Multiple Sclerosis (MS) is an autoimmune disease treated by therapies targeting peripheral blood cells. We previously identified that expression of two MS-risk genes, the transcription factors EOMES and TBX21 (ET), was low in blood from MS and stable over time. Here we replicated the low ET expression in a new MS cohort (p<0.0007 for EOMES, p<0.028 for TBX21) and demonstrate longitudinal stability (p<10(-4)) and high heritability (h(2)=0.48 for EOMES) for this molecular phenotype. Genes whose expression correlated with ET, especially those controlling cell migration, further defined the phenotype. CD56+ cells and other subsets expressed lower levels of Eomes or T-bet protein and/or were under-represented in MS. EOMES and TBX21 risk SNP genotypes, and serum EBNA-1 titres were not correlated with ET expression, but HLA-DRB1*1501 genotype was. ET expression was normalised to healthy control levels with natalizumab, and was highly variable for glatiramer acetate, fingolimod, interferon-beta, dimethyl fumarate.
Keywords: Biomarker; EOMES; Gene expression; MS risk gene; Multiple sclerosis; Natalizumab; TBX21.
Crown Copyright © 2016. Published by Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.