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  • The extreme capsule fiber complex in humans and macaque monkeys: a comparative diffusion MRI tractography study.

    24 October 2018

    We compared the course and cortical projections of white matter fibers passing through the extreme capsule in humans and macaques. Previous comparisons of this tract have suggested a uniquely human posterior projection, but these studies have always employed different techniques in the different species. Here we used the same technique, diffusion MRI, in both species to avoid attributing differences in techniques to differences in species. Diffusion MRI-based probabilistic tractography was performed from a seed area in the extreme capsule in both human and macaques. We compared in vivo data of humans and macaques as well as one high-resolution ex vivo macaque dataset. Tractography in the macaque was able to replicate most results known from macaque tracer studies, including selective innervation of frontal cortical areas and targets in the superior temporal cortex. In addition, however, we also observed some tracts that are not commonly reported in macaque tracer studies and that are more reminiscent of results previously only reported in the human. In humans, we show that the ventrolateral prefrontal cortex innervations are broadly similar to those in the macaque. These results suggest that evolutionary changes in the human extreme capsule fiber complex are likely more gradual than punctuated. Further, they demonstrate both the potential and limitations of diffusion MRI tractography.

  • Amiloride Clinical Trial In Optic Neuritis (ACTION) protocol: a randomised, double blind, placebo controlled trial.

    24 October 2018

    INTRODUCTION: Neurodegeneration is a widely accepted contributor to the development of long-term disability in multiple sclerosis (MS). While current therapies in MS predominantly target inflammation and reduce relapse rate they have been less effective at preventing long-term disability. The identification and evaluation of effective neuroprotective therapies within a trial paradigm are key unmet needs. Emerging evidence supports amiloride, a licenced diuretic, as a neuroprotective agent in MS through acid sensing ion channel blockade. Optic neuritis (ON) is a common manifestation of MS with correlates of inflammation and neurodegeneration measurable within the visual pathways. Amiloride Clinical Trial In Optic Neuritis (ACTION) will utilise a multimodal approach to assess the neuroprotective efficacy of amiloride in acute ON. METHODS AND ANALYSIS: 46 patients will be recruited within 28 days from onset of ON visual symptoms and randomised on a 1:1 basis to placebo or amiloride 10 mg daily. Double-blinded treatment groups will be balanced for age, sex and visual loss severity by a random-deterministic minimisation algorithm. The primary objective is to demonstrate that amiloride is neuroprotective in ON as assessed by scanning laser polarimetry of the peripapillary retinal nerve fibre layer (RNFL) thickness at 6 months in the affected eye compared to the unaffected eye at baseline. RNFL in combination with further retinal measures will also be assessed by optical coherence tomography. Secondary outcome measures on brain MRI will include cortical volume, diffusion-weighted imaging, resting state functional MRI, MR spectroscopy and magnetisation transfer ratio. In addition, high and low contrast visual acuity, visual fields, colour vision and electrophysiology will be assessed alongside quality of life measures. ETHICS AND DISSEMINATION: Ethical approval was given by the south central Oxford B research ethics committee (REC reference: 13/SC/0022). The findings from ACTION will be disseminated through peer-reviewed publications and at scientific conferences. TRIAL REGISTRATION NUMBER: EudraCT2012-004980-39, ClinicalTrials.gov Identifier: NCT01802489.

  • Myasthenia gravis: a clinical-immunological update.

    24 October 2018

    Myasthenia gravis (MG) is the archetypic disorder of both the neuromuscular junction and autoantibody-mediated disease. In most patients, IgG1-dominant antibodies to acetylcholine receptors cause fatigable weakness of skeletal muscles. In the rest, a variable proportion possesses antibodies to muscle-specific tyrosine kinase while the remainder of seronegative MG is being explained through cell-based assays using a receptor-clustering technique and, to a lesser extent, proposed new antigenic targets. The incidence and prevalence of MG are increasing, particularly in the elderly. New treatments are being developed, and results from the randomised controlled trial of thymectomy in non-thymomatous MG, due for release in early 2016, will be of particular clinical value. To help navigate an evidence base of varying quality, practising clinicians may consult new MG guidelines in the fields of pregnancy, ocular and generalised MG (GMG). This review focuses on updates in epidemiology, immunology, therapeutic and clinical aspects of GMG in adults.

  • Stratification and monitoring of natalizumab-associated progressive multifocal leukoencephalopathy risk: recommendations from an expert group.

    24 October 2018

    The use of natalizumab for highly active relapsing-remitting multiple sclerosis (MS) is influenced by the occurrence of progressive multifocal leukoencephalopathy (PML). Through measurement of the anti-JCV antibody index, and in combination with the presence or absence of other known risk factors, it may be possible to stratify patients with MS according to their risk of developing PML during treatment with natalizumab and detect early suspected PML using MRI including a diffusion-weighted imaging sequence. This paper describes a practical consensus guideline for treating neurologists, based on current evidence, for the introduction into routine clinical practice of anti-JCV antibody index testing of immunosuppressant-naïve patients with MS, either currently being treated with, or initiating, natalizumab, based on their anti-JCV antibody status. Recommendations for the frequency and type of MRI screening in patients with varying index-associated PML risks are also discussed. This consensus paper presents a simple and pragmatic algorithm to support the introduction of anti-JCV antibody index testing and MRI monitoring into standard PML safety protocols, in order to allow some JCV positive patients who wish to begin or continue natalizumab treatment to be managed with a more individualised analysis of their PML risk.

  • Isolated new onset 'atypical' optic neuritis in the NMO clinic: serum antibodies, prognoses and diagnoses at follow-up.

    24 October 2018

    Severe, recurrent or bilateral optic neuritis (ON) often falls within the neuromyelitis optica spectrum disorders (NMOSD), but the diagnosis can be particularly challenging and has important treatment implications. We report the features, course and outcomes of patients presenting with atypical ON when isolated at onset. We retrospectively analyzed 69 sequential patients referred to a single UK NMO center with isolated ON at onset. Aquaporin-4 antibody (AQP4-Ab) assessment was performed in all patients and IgG1 myelin-oligodenrocyte glycoprotein (MOG-Ab) in AQP4-Ab(neg) patients. 37 AQP4-Ab positive (AQP4-Ab(pos)) and 32 AQP4-Ab negative (AQP4-Ab(neg)) patients (8 with MOG-Ab) were identified. The AQP4-Ab(neg) group included heterogeneous diagnoses: multiple sclerosis (MS), NMO, relapsing isolated ON (RION), monophasic isolated ON and relapsing acute disseminated encephalomyelitis (ADEM)-like syndromes. Compared to AQP4-Ab(neg) patients, AQP4-Ab(pos) patients had a worse residual visual outcome from first attack (median VFSS 4 vs. 0, p = 0.010) and at last assessment (median VFSS 5 versus 2, p = 0.005). However, AQP4-Ab(neg) patients with RION also had poor visual outcome. Up to 35% of AQP4-Ab(neg) patients developed a LETM and two developed low positivity for AQP4-Ab over time. Eight AQP4-Ab(neg) patients (25%) were MOG-Ab positive, covering a range of phenotypes excluding MS; the first ON attack was often bilateral and most had relapsing disease with a poor final visual outcome [VFSS 4, range (0-6)]. In conlcusion, AQP4-Ab positivity is confirmed as a predictor of poor visual outcome but AQP4-Ab(neg) RION also had a poor visual outcome. Of those without AQP4-Ab, 25% had MOG-Ab and another 25% developed MS; thus, MOG-Ab is associated with AQP4-Ab(neg) non-MS ON.

  • Pregnancy outcomes in aquaporin-4-positive neuromyelitis optica spectrum disorder.

    24 October 2018

    OBJECTIVE: To investigate the association between neuromyelitis optica spectrum disorder (NMOSD) and pregnancy outcome. METHODS: An international cohort of women with aquaporin-4 antibody-positive NMOSD and ≥1 pregnancy was studied retrospectively. Multivariate logistic regression was used to investigate whether pregnancy after NMOSD onset was associated with an increased risk of miscarriage (cohort of 40 women) or preeclampsia (cohort of 57 women). RESULTS: Miscarriage rate was higher in pregnancies after NMOSD onset (42.9% [95% confidence interval 17.7%-71.1%] vs. 7.04% [2.33%-15.7%]). Pregnancies conceived after, or up to 3 years before, NMOSD onset had an increased odds ratio of miscarriage (7.28 [1.03-51.6] and 11.6 [1.05-128], respectively), independent of maternal age or history of miscarriage. Pregnancies after, or up to 1 year before, NMOSD onset ending in miscarriage were associated with increased disease activity from 9 months before conception to the end of pregnancy, compared to viable pregnancies (mean annualized relapse rate 0.707 vs. 0.100). The preeclampsia rate (11.5% [6.27%-18.9%]) was significantly higher than reported in population studies. The odds of preeclampsia were greater in women with multiple other autoimmune disorders or miscarriage in the most recent previous pregnancy, but NMOSD onset was not a risk factor. CONCLUSIONS: Pregnancy after NMOSD onset is an independent risk factor for miscarriage, and pregnancies conceived at times of high disease activity may be at increased risk of miscarriage. Women who develop NMOSD and have multiple other autoimmune disorders have greater odds of preeclampsia, independent of NMOSD onset timing.