(HealthDay News) – Patients with multiple sclerosis (MS) can be differentiated according to their transcription profile, according to a study published in the Sept 26 issue of Science Translational Medicine.

Linda Ottoboni, RN, from the Brigham and Women’s Hospital in Boston, and colleagues examined the structure of an MS patient population using a transcriptional profile generated from peripheral blood mononuclear cells.

Among 141 untreated patients, the researchers identified two subsets of MS patients (MSA and MSB). This structure was replicated in two additional groups of patients with MS, one treated with glatiramer acetate (94 patients) and the second treated with interferon-β (128 patients). Higher expression of molecules involved in lymphocyte signaling pathways was seen in subgroup MSA. In addition, patients in subgroup MSA were significantly more likely to experience a new inflammatory event while on treatment with glatiramer acetate or interferon-β.

“Overall, we report a transcriptional signature that distinguishes a subset of MS patients with more active disease,” the authors write. “Stratifying MS subjects into meaningful subsets in this manner has potential for personalizing patient care and for enhancing our understanding of this disease.”

Two authors disclosed financial ties to the pharmaceutical industry. Affymetrix Inc. produced the RNA data.

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