Analyzing Specific Pathways in Cells to Prevent Relapse in NMOSD: Shuhei Nishiyama, MD, PhD


The research fellow at the Neuroimmunology Clinic and Research Laboratory, Massachusetts General Hospital and Harvard Medical School, talked about his research of cell function in NMOSD to be presented at the upcoming AAN annual meeting. [WATCH TIME: 6 minutes]

WATCH TIME: 6 minutes

“We're going to present the data on inflammatory cytokines like IL-6 and IL-17A, which are significantly upregulated in patients with NMOSD. We can help each other to analyze more specific pathways with inflammatory causes and stop the NMOSD relapse.”

In neuromyelitis optica spectrum disorder (NMOSD), inhibition of terminal complement using eculizumab (Soliris; Alexion), an FDA-approved therapy, prevents relapse, although the mechanism of action of the treatment has been unknown. A recently published study compared CD16 expression on immune cells modulated by complement activity in natural killer (NK) cells and natural killer-T (NKT) cells in NMOSD to disease and normal-healthy controls. In the study, peripheral blood cell (PBMC) samples collected from 45 patients with NMOSD with aquaporin 4 (AQP4)-IgG, 18 disease controls, and 19 normal controls were analyzed for CD16 expression and complement receptors in vitro.1

Results from the study supported an immunopathogenesis model in which complement pathway activation in NK and NKT cells upregulate CD16 expression that binds to antibody/antigen complexes, which may be responsible for the escalating autoimmune activity. Lead author Shuhei Nishiyama, MD, PhD, research fellow at the Neuroimmunology Clinic and Research Laboratory, Massachusetts General Hospital and Harvard Medical School, is to present the findings at the 2023 American Academy of Neurology (AAN) Annual Meeting, April 22-27, in Boston, Massachusetts.

Prior to the meeting, Nishiyama recently sat down with NeurologyLive® in an interview to talk about his research in NMOSD. He briefly spoke about the main findings from the study and compared it with previous research results. He also shared what he is excited about regarding presenting the data at the meeting and what should be the focus for future research in the field of NMOSD.

Click here for more coverage on 2023 AAN.

1. Nishiyama S, Wright A, Lotan I, Paul F, Levy M. Upregulated complement receptors correlate with Fc gamma receptor 3A-positive natural killer (NK) and natural killer-T (NKT) cells in neuromyelitis optica spectrum disorder. Presented at: 2023 AAN Annual Meeting; April 22-27, Boston, Massachusetts. Autoimmune Neurology: NMOSD session.

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