Impact of multiple sclerosis risk loci in postinfectious neurological syndromes

Filippo Martinelli-Boneschi, Riccardo Currò, Silvia Santoro, Giulia Berzero, Melissa Sorosina, Laura Ferrè, Elisabetta Mascia, Silvia Peroni, Giancarlo Comi, Angelo Gugliemi, Elisa Vegezzi, Ilaria Callegari, Massimo Filippi, Andrea Cortese, Federica Esposito, Ferdinando Clarelli, Enrico Marchioni

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Background: The genetic component of multiple sclerosis (MS) is now set to 200 autosomal common variants. However, it is unclear how genetic knowledge be clinically used in the differential diagnosis between MS and other inflammatory conditions like adult-onset postinfectious neurological syndromes (PINS). The aim of this study was to investigate whether PINS and MS have a shared genetic background using an updated polygenic risk scores. Methods: Eighty-eight PINS patients have been consecutively recruited between 1996 and 2016 at Mondino Foundation of Pavia, diagnosed according to clinical, MRI and CSF findings and followed-up for several years. Patients were typed using Illumina array, and genotypes imputed using the 1000 Genomes Project reference panel. A weighted genetic risk score (wGRS) has been calculated based on autosomal MS risk loci derived from large-scale studies, and an HLA genetic burden (HLAGB) was also calculated on loci associated to MS. Results: PINS occurred as an episode of myelitis in 44% of patients, encephalomyelitis in 44%, and encephalitis in remaining cases, with an involvement of peripheral nervous system in 41% of patients. Mean age of onset was 50.1 years, and female:male ratio was 1.4. Patients were followed-up for a mean of 7.2 years, and at last visit 55% had a low disability grade (mRS 0–1). Disease was monophasic in 67% of patients, relapsing in 18% and chronic-progressive in 15%. The wGRS of PINS cases was comparable to 370 healthy controls, while significantly lower compared to 907 bout-onset MS (BOMS) cases (wGRS= 20.9 vs 21.2; p<0.0001). The difference was even larger for PINS with peripheral nervous system involvement (wGRS=20.6) vs BOMS. Conclusion: The distinction between MS and PINS is not easy to make in clinical practice. However, our study shows that the new set of MS risk alleles does not confer increased susceptibility to PINS. These data support the importance to discriminate these cases from MS with pathophysiological and therapeutic implications.

Original languageEnglish
Article number102326
JournalMultiple Sclerosis and Related Disorders
Publication statusPublished - Sep 2020


  • Acquired demyelinating disease
  • Genetics
  • Multiple sclerosis
  • Postinfectious neurological syndrome
  • Weighted genetic risk score

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Neurology
  • Clinical Neurology


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