Research suggests that an antibody found in the blood of multiple sclerosis (MS) patients may be detectable prior to the onset of the disease and its symptoms. A news release from the American Academy of Neurology (AAN) reports that during the recently release 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.

The antibody KIR4. 1 was specifically sought by researchers and samples were collected between 2 and 9 months prior to the first appearance of MS symptoms. The release notes that researchers investigated antibody levels in the blood at additional time points up to 6 years prior to and after disease onset in patients who had the KIR4. 1 antibody in their blood.

The results indicate all healthy controls tested negative for the KIR4. 1 antibody. Among patients who later developed MS, seven individuals tested positive for the antibodies, two exhibited borderline activity and seven were negative, the release says.

The study states that KIR4. 1 antibodies were found in the patients with preclinical MS several years before the first clinical attack. Concentrations of the antibody varied at different time points during pre-MS in individual people, researchers say.

According to Viola Biberacher, MD, Technical University, Munich, Germany, “If our results can be replicated in larger populations, our findings may help detect MS earlier in a subgroup of patients…the next step is to confirm these findings in larger groups and determine how many years before onset of disease the antibody response develops.”

Source: AAN