Monday, 12 December 2011

Multiple Sclerosis Research: Research: Antibodies to Tau

Fialova L et al. Increased intrathecal high-avidity anti-tau antibodies in patients with multiple sclerosis. PLos One 2011;6(11):e27476.

Tau is a protein in nerves that stablizes structures that act as highways within the nerve. Defects leading to accumulation of Tau is associated with neurodegenerative diseases such as Alzhiemers disease.

BACKGROUND: Antibodies against tau protein indicate an interaction between the immune system and the neurocytoskeleton and therefore may reflect axonal injury in multiple sclerosis (MS).

METHODOLOGY/PRINCIPAL FINDINGS: The levels and avidities (strength of binding of the antibody) of anti-tau IgG antibodies were measured in paired cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) and serum samples obtained from 49 MS patients and 47 controls. Anti-tau antibodies were significantly elevated intrathecally in CSF (p<0.0001) in the MS group. The CSF anti-tau antibody levels were lower in MS patients receiving therapy than those without treatment (p<0.05). The avidities of anti-tau antibodies were higher in the CSF than in the serum (MS group p<0.0001; controls p<0.005). Anti-tau avidities in the CSF were elevated in MS patients in comparison with controls (p <0.05), but not in serum.

CONCLUSIONS: MS patients have higher levels of intrathecal anti-tau antibodies. Anti-tau antibodies have different avidities in different compartments with the highest values in the CSF of MS patients.

We (Team G & Friends) showed that this Tau accumulation also occurred in MS and EAE animal models a few years ago and this further highlights that observation. Was it chicken or the egg and a part of the pathology or a consequence of damage? However, having antibodies againist a nerve protein is not a good idea and could be another way the immune system could be involved in pathology of MS. There are other ways it could be involved.

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