PloS one

Poor responses to interferon-beta treatment in patients with neuromyelitis optica and multiple sclerosis with long spinal cord lesions.

PMID 24887452


Interferon-beta (IFN-β) treatment may not be effective in neuromyelitis optica (NMO). Whether the poor response to IFN-β is related to long spinal cord lesions (LSCL) or the NMO disease entity itself is unclear. We evaluated the spinal cord involvement of patients with multiple sclerosis (MS) and NMO, as well as the response after receiving IFN-β. Forty-nine MS and 21 NMO patients treated with IFN-β for at least 2 years from 2002-2008 were enrolled in this study and the treatment response was analyzed 2 years post-treatment. In the study, spinal cord lesions were present in 57.1% (28/49) of the MS patients, of which 16.3% (8/49) presented spinal cord lesions longer than 3 vertebral segments (LSCL). Responses to IFN-β treatment were seen in 69.3% (34/49) of all the MS cases, of which the appropriate response rates were 76.1% (16/21) in MS patients without spinal cord lesions and 37.5% (3/8) in patients with LSCL. Only 14.2% (3/21) of NMO patients responded to IFN-β treatment. In conclusion, spinal cord lesion is common in MS patients in Taiwan. Both NMO and MS patients with LSCL had a poor response to IFN-β treatment. NMO patients had a worse response to IFN-β treatment than MS patients with LSCL, which shows that the crucial structural defect is something other than LSCL such as the elevated serum IL17 level in NMO compared to MS.