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New Ways of “Seeing” the Mechanistic Heterogeneity of Multiple Sclerosis Plaque Pathogenesis

Meltzer, Ethan, I., MD; Costello, Fiona, E., MD; Frohman, Elliot, M., MD, PhD, FAAN, FANA; Frohman, Teresa, C., MSPS, PA-C, FANA

Journal of Neuro-Ophthalmology: March 2018 - Volume 38 - Issue 1 - p 91–100
doi: 10.1097/WNO.0000000000000633
Disease of the Year: Multiple Sclerosis

Background: Over the past few decades, we have witnessed a transformation with respect to the principles and pathobiological underpinnings of multiple sclerosis (MS). From the traditional rubric of MS as an inflammatory and demyelinating disorder restricted to central nervous system (CNS) white matter, our contemporary view has evolved to encompass a broader understanding of the variable mechanisms that contribute to tissue injury, in a disorder now recognized to affect white and grey matter compartments.

Evidence Acquisition: A constellation of inflammation, ion channel derangements, bioenergetic supply: demand mismatches within the intra-axonal compartment, and alterations in the dynamics and oximetry of blood flow in CNS tissue compartments are observed in MS. These findings have raised questions regarding how histopathologic heterogeneity may influence the diverse clinical spectrum of MS; and, accordingly, how individual treatment needs vary from 1 patient to the next.

Results: We are now on new scaffolding in MS; one that promises to translate key clinical and laboratory observations to the application of emerging patient-centered therapies.

Conclusions: This review highlights our current knowledge of the underlying disease mechanisms in MS, explores the inflammatory and neurodegenerative consequences of tissue damage, and examines physiologic factors that contribute to bioenergetic homeostasis within the CNS of affected patients.

Department of Neurology (EM), Partner's Neurology Residency Training Program, Massachusetts General and Brigham and Women's Hospitals, Harvard Medical School, Massachusetts; The Department of Neurology (TCF, EMF), The Dell Medical School, The University of Texas, Austin, Texas; and Department of Neurology (FC), University of Calgary, Calgary, Canada.

Address correspondence to Teresa C. Frohman, MPAS, PA-C, FANA, Multiple Sclerosis & Neuroimmunology Center, The Dell Medical School, University of Texas, Austin, TX 78712; E-mail:teresa.frohman@austin.utexas.edu[LINESEPARATOR]

F. Costello has received consultancy fees from Clene and EMD Serono. The remaining authors report no conflicts of interest.

© 2018 by North American Neuro-Ophthalmology Society