PHILADELPHIA An antibody found in the blood of people with multiple sclerosis (MS) may be present long before the onset of the disease and its symptoms, according to a study released today that will be presented at the American Academy of Neurology's 66th Annual Meeting in Philadelphia, April 26 to May 3, 2014.
"If our results can be replicated in larger populations, our findings may help to detect MS earlier in a subgroup of patients," said study author Viola Biberacher, MD, with Technical University in Munich, Germany. "Finding the disease before symptoms appear means we can better prepare to treat and possibly even prevent those symptoms. This finding also demonstrates that the antibody development to the KIR4.1 protein, a protein found in some people with MS, precedes the clinical onset of disease suggesting a role of the autoantibody in how the disease develops."
For the study, 16 healthy blood donors who were later diagnosed with MS were compared to 16 healthy blood donors of the same age and sex who did not develop MS. Scientists looked for a specific antibody to KIR4.1. Samples were collected between two and nine months before the first symptoms of MS appeared.