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Eighty-five percent of multiple sclerosis cases begin with a discrete attack termed clinically isolated syndrome, but 37% of clinically isolated syndrome patients do not experience a relapse within 20 years of onset. Thus, the identification of biomarkers able to differentiate between individuals who are most likely to have a second clinical attack from those who remain in the clinically isolated syndrome stage is essential to apply a personalized medicine approach. We sought to identify biomarkers from biochemical, metabolic and proteomic screens that predict clinically defined conversion from clinically isolated syndrome to multiple sclerosis and generate a multi-omics-based algorithm with higher prognostic accuracy than any currently available test. An integrative multi-variate approach was applied to the analysis of cerebrospinal fluid samples taken from 54 individuals at the point of clinically isolated syndrome with 2-10 years of subsequent follow-up enabling stratification into clinical converters and non-converters. Leukocyte counts were significantly elevated at onset in the clinical converters and predict the occurrence of a second attack with 70% accuracy. Myo-inositol levels were significantly increased in clinical converters while glucose levels were decreased, predicting transition to multiple sclerosis with accuracies of 72% and 63%, respectively. Proteomics analysis identified 89 novel gene products related to conversion. The identified biochemical and protein biomarkers were combined to produce an algorithm with predictive accuracy of 83% for the transition to clinically defined multiple sclerosis, outperforming any individual biomarker in isolation including oligoclonal bands. The identified protein biomarkers are consistent with an exaggerated immune response, perturbed energy metabolism and multiple sclerosis pathology in the clinical converter group. The new biomarkers presented provide novel insight into the molecular pathways promoting disease while the multi-omics algorithm provides a means to more accurately predict whether an individual is likely to convert to clinically defined multiple sclerosis.

Original publication




Journal article


Brain Commun

Publication Date





biomarker, clinically isolated syndrome, multiple sclerosis, prediction, prognosis