Inflammatory intrathecal profiles and cortical damage in multiple sclerosis

R. Magliozzi, O.W. Howell, R. Nicholas, C. Cruciani, M. Castellaro, C. Romualdi, S. Rossi, M. Pitteri, M.D. Benedetti, A. Gajofatto, F.B. Pizzini, S. Montemezzi, S. Rasia, R. Capra, A. Bertoldo, F. Facchiano, S. Monaco, R. Reynolds, M. Calabrese

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Objective: Gray matter (GM) damage and meningeal inflammation have been associated with early disease onset and a more aggressive disease course in multiple sclerosis (MS), but can these changes be identified in the patient early in the disease course?. Methods: To identify possible biomarkers linking meningeal inflammation, GM damage, and disease severity, gene and protein expression were analyzed in meninges and cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) from 27 postmortem secondary progressive MS and 14 control cases. Combined cytokine/chemokine CSF profiling and 3T magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) were performed at diagnosis in 2 independent cohorts of MS patients (35 and 38 subjects) and in 26 non-MS patients. Results: Increased expression of proinflammatory cytokines (IFNγ, TNF, IL2, and IL22) and molecules related to sustained B-cell activity and lymphoid-neogenesis (CXCL13, CXCL10, LTα, IL6, and IL10) was detected in the meninges and CSF of postmortem MS cases with high levels of meningeal inflammation and GM demyelination. Similar proinflammatory patterns, including increased levels of CXCL13, TNF, IFNγ, CXCL12, IL6, IL8, and IL10, together with high levels of BAFF, APRIL, LIGHT, TWEAK, sTNFR1, sCD163, MMP2, and pentraxin III, were detected in the CSF of MS patients with higher levels of GM damage at diagnosis. Interpretation: A common pattern of intrathecal (meninges and CSF) inflammatory profile strongly correlates with increased cortical pathology, both at the time of diagnosis and at death. These results suggest a role for detailed CSF analysis combined with MRI as a prognostic marker for more aggressive MS. Ann Neurol 2018 Ann Neurol 2018;83:739–755. © 2018 American Neurological Association
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)739-755
Number of pages17
JournalAnnals of Neurology
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 2018


  • APRIL protein
  • B cell activating factor
  • biological marker
  • CD163 antigen
  • CD20 antigen
  • CXCL13 chemokine
  • CXCL9 chemokine
  • gamma interferon
  • gamma interferon inducible protein 10
  • gelatinase A
  • interleukin 10
  • interleukin 2
  • interleukin 22
  • interleukin 6
  • myelin oligodendrocyte glycoprotein
  • pentraxin 3
  • tumor necrosis factor
  • adult
  • aged
  • Article
  • autopsy
  • B lymphocyte
  • brain cortex lesion
  • cerebrovascular disease
  • controlled study
  • degenerative disease
  • demyelination
  • disease course
  • disease severity
  • electrochemiluminescence
  • Expanded Disability Status Scale
  • female
  • gene expression
  • headache
  • human
  • human tissue
  • male
  • meningitis
  • middle aged
  • multiple sclerosis
  • neuropathy
  • nuclear magnetic resonance imaging
  • priority journal
  • protein analysis
  • protein cerebrospinal fluid level
  • protein expression
  • RNA extraction
  • subarachnoid space
  • very elderly
  • white matter lesion


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