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Tecfidera 'could be increasing B-cells' (04/04/16)

Recent studies have shown that Tecfidera decreased certain immune cells, of both B-, and T-cell type in MS patients. Studies have also indicated that this class of drugs affects the signalling through IL-10, a key regulator of immune responses. This anti-inflammatory cytokine is most often released by regulatory B-, and T-cells (Bregs/Tregs).

Given the uncertainty surrounding the drug mechanisms, University of Michigan Medical School researchers explored how Tecfidera treatment affected different types of B-cells in thirteen patients with RRMS and six healthy controls.

Studying B-cells in the blood before and after four to six months of treatment, the research team noted that the total number of B-cells dropped as a result of treatment. This reduction could be attributed to a loss of both naïve and memory-type B-cells since in the same period other types of B-cells – usually having immune regulatory properties – were increased in most patients.

The team analysed the presence of two different Bregs, and noted that one type responded faster to the treatment. The other Breg type was not increased after four to six months. Eight patients were however tested also after one year, and then, six out of eight had higher levels of this regulatory cell type.

The key factor characterising Bregs is their capacity to release the regulatory factor IL-10. The team isolated the various B-cell types from nine patients, and noted that the levels of the cytokine correlated with the number of cells in culture. This was, however, not true for two of the patients who did not produce IL-10.

While these two did not suffer relapses during the study, a lack of IL-10 production in spite of high numbers of regulatory cells might indicate that these patients have a suboptimal treatment response. Future studies involving more patients might answer this question.

Although the study included few patients, the results showed that altered B-cell responses might be part of the drug’s mechanism of action.

Source: Multiple Sclerosis News Today © Copyright 2014 - 2016 BioNews Services, LLC (04/04/16)