Antinuclear antibodies positivity is not rare during multiple sclerosis and is associated with relapsing status and IgG oligoclonal bands positivity

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Rev Neurol (Paris). 2022 May 16:S0035-3787(22)00559-8. doi: 10.1016/j.neurol.2021.11.016. Online ahead of print.


INTRODUCTION: As an immune-mediated disease of the central nervous system, multifaceted aspects of a humoral immune response are widely described during multiple sclerosis (MS). However, the prevalence of different auto-antibodies, such as antinuclear antibodies (ANA), during MS is very variable and their clinical relevance remains controversial. Our aim was to evaluate the prevalence and clinical correlations of ANA positivity in South Tunisian MS patients.

MATERIAL AND METHODS: We performed ANA screening using indirect immunofluorescence (IIF) on HEp-2 cells (Biosystems®) in 82 MS patients. For ANA positive samples (titer ≥1/160), anti-ds-DNA detection (IIF on Crithidia luciliae (Biosystems®)) and extractable nuclear antigen typing (immunodot (Euroimmun®)) were performed.

RESULTS: ANA were positive in 35/82 MS patients (42.7%). The titer was ≥1/320 in 16/35 patients. The antigenic specificity of ANA was identified in 7/35 patients. None of the patients had extra-neurological manifestations. No correlation was found between ANA and age, gender, MS course, disease duration, disability, annual relapse rate nor IgG index. ANA positivity was more frequent in patients with IgG oligoclonal bands (OCB) (47.1%) than in patients without IgG OCB (16,6%) (p=0.049). Regarding disease activity, ANA positivity was significantly more frequent in patients with relapse (52.6%) than in patients in remission (25.9%) (p=0.031).

CONCLUSION: Our results showed that ANA positivity in MS disease is not rare. This positivity was not associated with clinical expression of any connective tissue disease. ANA occurrence in MS was associated with IgG OCB+ profile and relapsing status, probably reflecting an ongoing immune dysregulation.

PMID:35589445 | DOI:10.1016/j.neurol.2021.11.016