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

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

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Department of Medicine and Therapeutics, Prince of Wales Hospital, Hong Kong.
Department of Pathology, Queen Mary Hospital, Hong Kong.
Department of Medicine and Geriatrics, Princess Margaret Hospital, Hong Kong.
Department of Medicine and Geriatrics, Caritas Medical, Centre, Hong Kong.
Ruttonjee Hospital, Hong Kong.
Alice Ho Miu Ling Nethersole Hospital, Hong Kong.
North District Hospital, Hong Kong.
Department of Medicine, Queen Elizabeth Hospital, Hong Kong.
Department of Imaging and Interventional Radiology, Prince of Wales Hospital, Hong Kong.



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


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.


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.


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).


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.


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

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