Objective: To explore if baseline blood lymphocyte profile could identify relapsing remitting multiple sclerosis (RRMS) patients at higher risk of developing secondary autoimmune adverse events (AIAEs) after alemtuzumab treatment. Methods: Multicenter prospective study including 57 RRMS patients treated with alemtuzumab followed for 3.25 [3.5-4.21] years, (median [interquartile range]). Blood samples were collected at baseline, and leukocyte subsets determined by flow cytometry. We had additional samples one year after the first cycle of alemtuzumab treatment in 39 cases. Results: Twenty-two patients (38.6%) developed AIAEs during follow-up. They had higher B-cell percentages at baseline (p=0.0014), being differences mainly due to plasmablasts/plasma cells (PB/PC, p=0.0011). Those with no AIAEs had higher percentages of CD4+ T cells (p=0.013), mainly due to terminally differentiated (TD) (p=0.034) and effector memory (EM) (p=0.031) phenotypes. AIAEs- patients also showed higher values of TNF-alpha-producing CD8+ T cells (p=0.029). The percentage of PB/PC was the best variable to differentiate both groups of patients. Baseline values >0.10% closely associated with higher AIAE risk (Odds ratio [OR]: 5.91, 95% CI: 1.83-19.10, p=0.004). When excluding the 12 patients with natalizumab, which decreases blood PB/PC percentages, being the last treatment before alemtuzumab, baseline PB/PC >0.1% even predicted more accurately the risk of AIAEs (OR: 11.67, 95% CI: 2.62-51.89, p=0.0007). The AIAEs+ group continued having high percentages of PB/PC after a year of alemtuzumab treatment (p=0.0058). Conclusions: A PB/PC percentage <0.1% at baseline identifies MS patients at low risk of secondary autoimmunity during alemtuzumab treatment.
B cells; Alemtuzumab; Autoimmunity
Walo-Delgado PE, Monreal E, Medina S, Quintana E, Sainz de la Maza S, Fernández-Velasco JI, et al. Role of B Cell Profile for Predicting Secondary Autoimmunity in Patients Treated With Alemtuzumab. Front Immunol. 2021 Oct;12:760546.
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