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Sci Transl Med. 2012 Sep 26;4(153):153ra131.

An RNA profile identifies two subsets of multiple sclerosis patients differing in disease activity.

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Program in Translational Neuropsychiatric Genomics, Institute for the Neurosciences, Department of Neurology, Brigham and Women's Hospital, Boston, MA 02115, USA.


The multiple sclerosis (MS) patient population is highly heterogeneous in terms of disease course and treatment response. We used a transcriptional profile generated from peripheral blood mononuclear cells to define the structure of an MS patient population. Two subsets of MS subjects (MS(A) and MS(B)) were found among 141 untreated subjects. We replicated this structure in two additional groups of MS subjects treated with one of the two first-line disease-modifying treatments in MS: glatiramer acetate (GA) (n = 94) and interferon-β (IFN-β) (n = 128). One of the two subsets of subjects (MS(A)) was distinguished by higher expression of molecules involved in lymphocyte signaling pathways. Further, subjects in this MS(A) subset were more likely to have a new inflammatory event while on treatment with either GA or IFN-β (P = 0.0077). We thus report a transcriptional signature that differentiates subjects with MS into two classes with different levels of disease activity.

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