Genome-Wide Multiple Sclerosis Association Data and Coagulation

Sara La Starza, Michela Ferraldeschi, Maria Chiara Buscarinu, Silvia Romano, Arianna Fornasiero, Rosella Mechelli, Renato Umeton, Giovanni Ristori, Marco Salvetti

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review


The emerging concept of a crosstalk between hemostasis, inflammation, and immune system prompt recent works on coagulation cascade in multiple sclerosis (MS). Studies on MS pathology identified several coagulation factors since the beginning of the disease pathophysiology: fibrin deposition with breakdown of blood brain barrier, and coagulation factors within active plaques may exert pathogenic role, especially through the innate immune system. Studies on circulating coagulation factors showed complex imbalance involving several components of hemostasis cascade (thrombin, factor X, factor XII). To analyze the role of the coagulation process in connection with other pathogenic pathways, we implemented a systematic matching of genome-wide association studies (GWAS) data with an informative and unbiased network of coagulation pathways. Using MetaCore (version 6.35 build 69300, 2018) we analyzed the connectivity (i.e., direct and indirect interactions among two networks) between the network of the coagulation process and the network resulting from feeding into MetaCore the MS GWAS data. The two networks presented a remarkable over-connectivity: 958 connections vs. 561 expected by chance; z-score = 17.39; p-value < 0.00001. Moreover, genes coding for cluster of differentiation 40 (CD40) and plasminogen activator, urokinase (PLAU) shared both networks, pointed to an integral interplay between coagulation cascade and main pathogenic immune effectors. In fact, CD40 pathways is especially operative in B cells, that are currently a major therapeutic target in MS field. The potential interaction of PLAU with a signal of paramount importance for B cell pathogenicity, such as CD40, suggest new lines of research and pave the way to implement new therapeutic targets.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)95
JournalFrontiers in Neurology
Publication statusPublished - 2019


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