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Effect of Treatment with Interferon Beta-1a on Changes in Voxel-Wise Magnetization Transfer Ratio in Normal Appearing Brain Tissue and Lesions of Patients with Relapsing–Remitting Multiple Sclerosis: A 24-Week, Controlled Pilot Study
Robert Zivadinov, Michael G. Dwyer, Silva Markovic-Plese, Cheryl Kennedy, Niels Bergsland, Deepa P. Ramasamy, Jacqueline Durfee, David Hojnacki, Brooke Hayward, Fernando Dangond, Bianca Weinstock-Guttman
PLOS one, March 13, 2014
This pilot study investigated changes in remyelinating and demyelinating activity in normal appearing brain tissue (NABT) and lesions, by using voxel-wise magnetization transfer ratio (VW-MTR), in patients with relapsing–remitting multiple sclerosis (RRMS) receiving interferon beta-1a 44 mcg subcutaneously (IFN β-1a SC) three times weekly versus healthy controls (HCs) (NCT01085318).
Increasing (suggestive of remyelination) and decreasing (suggestive of demyelination) VW-MTR changes in NABT and in T2, T1 and gadolinium (Gd)-enhancing lesion volume were measured over 24 weeks in 23 patients treated with IFN β-1a SC and in 15 HCs (where applicable). VW-MTR changes were tested using the Wilcoxon signed–rank or Wilcoxon rank–sum test.
A trend for greater volume of NABT with increasing VW-MTR at 24 weeks was observed for patients versus HCs (median [range] 1206 [0–15278]; 342 [0–951] mm3; p = 0.061). NABT volume with increasing VW-MTR at 12 weeks was significantly greater in patients than in HCs (852 [6–11577]; 360 [0–1755] mm3; p = 0.028). Similar findings were detected for lesion volumes. Two patients with notably high numbers of Gd-enhancing lesions at baseline had a markedly greater volume of tissue with increasing VW-MTR compared with other patients. Volume of NABT tissue with decreasing VW-MTR was significantly greater in patients versus HCs at 24 weeks (942 [0–6141]; 297 [0–852] mm3; p<0.001).
The significant change in NABT volume with increasing VW-MTR at 12 weeks suggests that active remyelination in patients with RRMS may occur during treatment with IFN β-1a SC. Findings from two patients with the highest number of Gd-enhancing lesions at baseline suggest that extensive remyelination in NABT may occur in patients with high disease activity. Tissue volume with decreasing VW-MTR was greater in patients than in HCs, despite treatment, validating the sensitivity of this technique for detecting MS disease activity.