Prevalence of neutralising antibodies to interferon-beta and clinical response in Chinese patients with relapsing multiple sclerosis

Mult Scler J Exp Transl Clin. 2017 Oct 9;3(4):2055217317733485. doi: 10.1177/2055217317733485. eCollection 2017 Oct-Dec.


Background: There are no data on neutralising antibodies to interferon-beta and its clinical implications in Chinese patients with multiple sclerosis (MS).

Objectives: The objectives of this study were to investigate the prevalence of neutralising antibodies among Chinese patients with relapsing MS receiving interferon-beta (1a or 1b) and to study the association between neutralising antibodies and the clinical-radiological response.

Methods: We performed a cross-sectional study on MS patients who received interferon-beta for 9 months or more, and evaluated the clinical response by relapses and magnetic resonance imaging lesions. Blood samples were evaluated for myxovirus resistance protein A (MxA) gene expression by polymerase chain reaction, anti-interferon-beta binding antibodies by enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay, and neutralising antibodies by cell-based MxA protein induction and luciferase reporter gene assays. Assay performances were evaluated by receiver operating characteristic analysis.

Results: Among 78 subjects recruited, 61/77 (79%) had anti-interferon-beta binding antibodies, and 22/78 (28%) had neutralising antibodies by MxA protein induction assay. The presence of high-titre neutralising antibodies was associated with poor clinical outcome (odds ratio 6.1, 95% confidence interval 1.5-25.6, P = 0.013). The sensitivity and specificity for neutralising antibodies using MxA gene expression assay (cut-off 0.20) was 80% and 68%, respectively (area under the curve 0.71).

Conclusions: Neutralising antibodies are associated with poor clinical outcome in Chinese patients with relapsing MS. MxA gene expression and protein induction assays are complimentary assays for neutralising antibody detection.

Keywords: Chinese; Multiple sclerosis; MxA protein induction; clinical outcomes; interferon-beta; neutralising antibodies.