Presse Med. 2004 Feb 14;33(3):180-6; discussion 192
Clinique neurologique, CHU de Lille (59)
The arrival of immunomodulating treatments The pathology of multiple sclerosis (MS) took benefit from progresses of magnetic resonance-based and immunological studies, leading to the introduction of immunomodulatory agents and notably interferon beta (IFNbeta).
The therapeutic impact of such treatments in the relapsing-remitting forms of the disease, and our improved knowledge on the natural history of the disease, raise the possibility of treating patients after the first demyelinating episode.
This strategy may be more relevant in patients presenting poor prognostic criteria.
Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) data The clinical characteristics of the first episode do not help to predict the mean or long term progression.
Magnetic resonance imaging has shown that the progression of the disease is partly infra-clinical.
Other than data revealing demyelination involvement and inflammation, MRI has also provided arguments suggesting early axonal distress.
In a patient, the presence of high lesion load at onset on weighted T2 sequences, of black holes and gadolinium enhancing lesions s on T1 sequences, or the presence of new lesions on MRI conducted a few Months later are all predictive factors of clinical progression and suggest that treatment should be initiated early.
The interest of interferon beta Two clinical trials have shown that treatment with IFNbeta treatment after a first demyelinating event significantly decreased the risk of a second episode in the short term.
The aim of such treatment would be to limit the irreversible axonal lesions, notably in the form of axonal sections often associated with inflammatory lesions.
An early reduction in the inflammatory response could lead to a lesser number of axons and, consequently, reduced clinical disability.