First published December 26, 2019 - More info
A recent study of AHSCT for active relapsing-remitting multiple sclerosis (RRMS) showed efficacy in preventing disease worsening. However, the immunologic basis for efficacy remains poorly defined. MS pathology is known to be driven by inflammatory T cells that infiltrate the central nervous system (CNS). Therefore, we hypothesized that the pre-existing T cell repertoire in the intrathecal compartment of active RRMS participants was ablated, and replaced with new clones following AHSCT. T cell repertoires were assessed using high-throughput TCRβ chain sequencing in paired cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) and peripheral blood CD4+ and CD8+ T cells from participants that underwent AHSCT, before and up to 4 years following transplantation. >90% of the pre-existing CSF repertoire in participants with active RRMS was removed following AHSCT, and replaced with clonotypes predominantly generated from engrafted autologous stem cells. Of the pre-existing clones in CSF, ~60% were also detected in pre-therapy blood, and concordant treatment effects were observed for clonotypes in both compartments following AHSCT. These results indicate that replacement of the pre-existing TCR repertoire in active RRMS is a mechanism for AHSCT efficacy, and suggest that peripheral blood could serve as a surrogate for CSF to define mechanisms associated with efficacy in future studies of AHSCT.