Cerebrospinal fluid fetuin-A is a biomarker of active multiple sclerosis

Publication Date

October 1, 2013

Publication Information

Harris VK, Donelan N, Yan QJ, Clark K, Touray A, Rammal M, and Sadiq SA. Mult Scler. 2013; 19(11): 1462-1472.

BACKGROUND: There is an urgent need for biomarkers in multiple sclerosis (MS) that can reliably measure ongoing disease activity relative to inflammation, neurodegeneration, and demyelination/remyelination. Fetuin-A was recently identified as a potential biomarker in MS cerebrospinal fluid (CSF). Fetuin-A has diverse functions, including a role in immune pathways. OBJECTIVE: The objective of this research is to investigate whether fetuin-A is a direct indicator of disease activity. METHODS: We measured fetuin-A in CSF and plasma of patients with MS and correlated these findings to clinical disease activity and natalizumab response. Fetuin-A expression was characterized in MS brain tissue and in experimental autoimmune encephalomyelitis (EAE) mice. We also examined the pathogenic role of fetuin-A in EAE using fetuin-A-deficient mice. RESULTS: Elevated CSF fetuin-A correlated with disease activity in MS. In natalizumab-treated patients, CSF fetuin-A levels were reduced one year post-treatment, correlating with therapeutic response. Fetuin-A was markedly elevated in demyelinated lesions and in gray matter within MS brain tissue. Similarly, fetuin-A was elevated in degenerating neurons around demyelinated lesions in EAE. Fetuin-A-deficient mice demonstrated delayed onset and reduced severity of EAE symptoms. CONCLUSIONS: Our results show that CSF fetuin-A is a biomarker of disease activity and natalizumab response in MS. Neuronal expression of fetuin-A suggests that fetuin-A may play a pathological role in the disease process.

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