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Association of a marker of N-acetylglucosamine with progressive multiple sclerosis and neurodegeneration

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Item Type:Article
Title:Association of a marker of N-acetylglucosamine with progressive multiple sclerosis and neurodegeneration
Creators Name:Brandt, A.U. and Sy, M. and Bellmann-Strobl, J. and Newton, B.L. and Pawling, J. and Zimmermann, H.G. and Yu, Z. and Chien, C. and Dörr, J. and Wuerfel, J.T. and Dennis, J.W. and Paul, F. and Demetriou, M.
Abstract:IMPORTANCE: N-glycan branching modulates cell surface receptor availability, and its deficiency in mice promotes inflammatory demyelination, reduced myelination, and neurodegeneration. N-acetylglucosamine (GlcNAc) is a rate-limiting substrate for N-glycan branching, but, to our knowledge, endogenous serum levels in patients with multiple sclerosis (MS) are unknown. OBJECTIVE: To investigate a marker of endogenous serum GlcNAc levels in patients with MS. DESIGN, SETTING, AND PARTICIPANTS: A cross-sectional discovery study and cross-sectional confirmatory study were conducted at 2 academic MS centers in the US and Germany. The discovery study recruited 54 patients with MS from an outpatient clinic as well as 66 healthy controls between April 20, 2010, and June 21, 2013. The confirmatory study recruited 180 patients with MS from screening visits at an academic MS study center between April 9, 2007, and February 29, 2016. Serum samples were analyzed from December 2, 2013, to March 2, 2015. Statistical analysis was performed from February 23, 2020, to March 18, 2021. MAIN OUTCOMES AND MEASURES: Serum levels of GlcNAc plus its stereoisomers, termed N-acetylhexosamine (HexNAc), were assessed using targeted tandem mass spectroscopy. Secondary outcomes (confirmatory study) comprised imaging and clinical disease markers. RESULTS: The discovery cohort included 66 healthy controls (38 women; mean [SD] age, 42 [20] years), 33 patients with relapsing-remitting MS (RRMS; 25 women; mean [SD] age, 50 [11] years), and 21 patients with progressive MS (PMS; 14 women; mean [SD] age, 55 [7] years). The confirmatory cohort included 125 patients with RRMS (83 women; mean [SD] age, 40 [9] years) and 55 patients with PMS (22 women; mean [SD] age, 49 [80] years). In the discovery cohort, the mean (SD) serum level of GlcNAc plus its stereoisomers (HexNAc) was 710 (174) nM in healthy controls and marginally reduced in patients with RRMS (mean [SD] level, 682 [173] nM; P = .04), whereas patients with PMS displayed markedly reduced levels compared with healthy controls (mean [SD] level, 548 [101] nM; P = 9.55 × 10(-9)) and patients with RRMS (P = 1.83 × 10(-4)). The difference between patients with RRMS (mean [SD] level, 709 [193] nM) and those with PMS (mean [SD] level, 405 [161] nM; P = 7.6 × 10(-18)) was confirmed in the independent confirmatory cohort. Lower HexNAc serum levels correlated with worse expanded disability status scale scores (ρ = -0.485; P = 4.73 × 10(-12)), lower thalamic volume (t = 1.7; P = .04), and thinner retinal nerve fiber layer (B = 0.012 [SE = 7.5 × 10(-11)]; P = .008). Low baseline serum HexNAc levels correlated with a greater percentage of brain volume loss at 18 months (t = 1.8; P = .04). CONCLUSIONS AND RELEVANCE: This study suggests that deficiency of GlcNAc plus its stereoisomers (HexNAc) may be a biomarker for PMS. Previous preclinical, human genetic, and ex vivo human mechanistic studies revealed that N-glycan branching and/or GlcNAc may reduce proinflammatory responses, promote myelin repair, and decrease neurodegeneration. Combined, the data suggest that GlcNAc deficiency may be associated with progressive disease and neurodegeneration in patients with MS.
Keywords:Acetylglucosamine, Biomarkers, Case-Control Studies, Chronic Progressive Multiple Sclerosis, Cohort Studies, Cross-Sectional Studies, Germany, Neurodegenerative Diseases, United States
Source:JAMA Neurology
Publisher:American Medical Association
Page Range:842-852
Date:July 2021
Official Publication:https://doi.org/10.1001/jamaneurol.2021.1116
PubMed:View item in PubMed

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