Kinetics of myelin breakdown products: A labeling study in patients with progressive multiple sclerosis.

Kanhai KMS, Goulooze SC, van der Grond J, Harms AC, Hankemeier T, Verma A, Dent G, Chavez J, Meijering H, Groeneveld GJ

The majority of disease modifying therapies for multiple sclerosis (MS) reduce inflammation, but do no't target remyelination. Development of remyelinating therapies will benefit from a method to quantify myelin kinetics in patients with MS. We labeled myelin in vivo with deuterium, and modeled kinetics of myelin breakdown products β-galactosylceramide (β-GalC) and N-Octadecanoyl-sulfatide (NO-Sulf). Five patients with MS received 120 ml 70% D O daily for 70 days and were compared with six healthy subjects who previously received the same procedure. Mass spectrometry and compartmental modeling were used to quantify the turnover rate of β-GalC and NO-Sulf in cerebrospinal fluid (CSF). Turnover rate constants of the fractions of β-GalC and NO-Sulf with non-negligible turnover were 0.00186 and 0.00714, respectively, in both healthy subjects and patients with MS. The turnover half-life of β-GalC and NO-Sulf was calculated as 373 days and 96.5 days, respectively. The effect of MS on the NO-Sulf (49.4% lower fraction with non-negligible turnover) was more pronounced compared to the effect on β-GalC turnover (18.3% lower fraction with non-negligible turnover). Kinetics of myelin breakdown products in the CSF are different in patients with MS compared with healthy subjects. This may be caused by slower myelin production in these patients, by a higher level of degradation of a more stable component of myelin, or, most likely, by a combination of these two processes. Labeling myelin breakdown products is a useful method that can be used to quantify myelin turnover in patients with progressive MS and can therefore be used in proof-of-concept studies with remyelination therapies.