In multiple sclerosis (MS), several adhesion molecules are involved within the central nervous system in inflammatory and neurodegenerative processes that are associated to progressive disability and increasing brain atrophy. The neural cell adhesion molecule (NCAM) has been suggested to participate in the reparative mechanisms and in the remyelination processes, key issues in MS pathology. We aimed at investigating plasma levels of the seldom investigated soluble (s)NCAM, and as comparison those of intercellular adhesion molecule-1 (sICAM-1) and vascular adhesion molecule-1 (sVCAM-1), and their association with clinical and MRI measures of lesion volumes and of global and regional atrophy. The cross-sectional study was conducted in 85 relapsing-remitting (RR)-MS, 53 progressive (P)-MS patients, and 42 healthy individuals (HI). Correlation of MRI measures with plasma levels of these adhesion molecules were not observed. In the MS and HI groups, sNCAM levels were significantly and positively associated with sVCAM-1 levels. Differently, the correlation between sICAM-1 and sVCAM-1 was observed only in MS patients. sNCAM and sVCAM-1 levels were higher in P-MS compared to HI (P = 0.05 and P = 0.028 respectively). The sVCAM-1 levels differed (P < 0.001) among DMTs groups and HI. The association of sNCAM plasma levels with MS disease, as well as differences in sVCAM-1 levels in patients receiving different DMTs, deserve further investigation.
Keywords: Adhesion molecules; ICAM-1; MRI; Multiple sclerosis; NCAM; VCAM-1.
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