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Disease Activity and Conversion into Multiple Sclerosis after Optic Neuritis Is Treated with Erythropoietin

Department of Neurology, Medical School Hannover, Carl-Neuberg Str. 1, 30625 Hannover, Germany
Department of Neuroradiology, Hospital Bremen Mitte, St. Jürgen Str. 1, 28177 Bremen, Germany
Department of Neurology, Georg-August University, Robert-Koch-Str. 40, 37075 Göttingen, Germany
Department of Radiology, Lüneburg Hospital, Bögelstr. 1, 21339 Lüneburg, Germany
Department of Neurology, University Hospital Hamburg-Eppendorf, Martinistr. 52, 20246 Hamburg, Germany
Department of Neurooncology, University Clinic Heidelberg, Im Neuenheimer Feld 400, 69120 Heidelberg, Germany
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Academic Editors: Christoph Kleinschnitz and Sven Meuth
Int. J. Mol. Sci. 2016, 17(10), 1666;
Received: 28 July 2016 / Revised: 20 September 2016 / Accepted: 28 September 2016 / Published: 30 September 2016
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Advances in Multiple Sclerosis 2016)
PDF [438 KB, uploaded 30 September 2016]


Changes in cerebral lesion load by magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) in patients from a double-blind, placebo-controlled, phase II study on erythropoietin in clinically isolated optic neuritis (, NCT00355095) were analyzed. Therefore, patients with acute optic neuritis were assigned to receive either 33,000 IU of recombinant human erythropoietin (IV) daily for three days, or a placebo, as an add-on to methylprednisolone. Of 35 patients, we investigated changes in cerebral lesion load in MRIs obtained at baseline and at weeks 4, 8, and 16. In 5 of the 35 patients, we found conversion into multiple sclerosis (MS) based on MRI progression only. These five patients had received the placebo. Another five patients showed MRI progression together with relapses. Three of these patients had received erythropoietin, and two the placebo. Yet, analyzing the change in absolute numbers of periventricular, juxtacortical, and infratentorial lesions including gadolinium-enhancing lesions, there were no significant differences between the groups. Although effective in terms of retinal nerve fiber layer protection, erythropoietin treatment of acute isolated optic neuritis did not influence further evolution of MRI lesions in the brain when comparing absolute numbers. However, early conversion from clinically isolated syndrome to MS assessed by MRI activity seemed to occur more frequently in the placebo-treated group. View Full-Text
Keywords: multiple sclerosis; MRI; optic nerve; clinical trial multiple sclerosis; MRI; optic nerve; clinical trial

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This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited (CC BY 4.0).

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Sühs, K.-W.; Papanagiotou, P.; Hein, K.; Pul, R.; Scholz, K.; Heesen, C.; Diem, R. Disease Activity and Conversion into Multiple Sclerosis after Optic Neuritis Is Treated with Erythropoietin. Int. J. Mol. Sci. 2016, 17, 1666.

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