Saliva immunoglobulin free light chain analysis for monitoring disease activity and response to treatment in multiple sclerosis

Itay Lotan*, Esther Ganelin-Cohen, Evgeny Tartakovsky, Vadim Khasminsky, Mark A. Hellmann, Israel Steiner, Ilan Ben-Zvi, Avi Livneh, Sizilia Golderman, Batia Kaplan

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Background: Immunoglobulin free light chains (FLC) have recently gained considerable interest as new promising intrathecal biomarkers of multiple sclerosis (MS). However, lumbar puncture is invasive and not practical for monitoring disease course. This study aimed to assess the utility of saliva FLC as a biomarker of disease activity and response to treatment in MS Methods: Western blotting was used to study saliva FLC monomers and dimers. The intensity of immunoreactive FLC bands was quantified by electrophoresis analysis, and the obtained values were used as FLC indices to account for kappa and lambda FLC monomer and dimer levels. Firth's logistic regression analysis suitable to study small cohorts was applied to compare FLC levels between M.S. patients in relapse, MS patients in remission, and healthy controls. Association between FLC levels and clinical and radiological parameters was analyzed. Results: 55 MS patients and 40 healthy controls were evaluated. Saliva FLC levels were significantly higher in relapse compared to remission. Logistic regression analysis employing a combination of FLC indices confirmed the significant difference between these two groups. The FLC levels were significantly reduced by treatment with corticosteroids. During remission, patients treated with disease-modifying therapies had lower levels of FLC compared to untreated patients. The increased FLC levels were associated with the presence of gadolinium-enhancing lesions, but not with MRI T2 lesion load and EDSS scores. During individual patient follow-up, the changes of the saliva FLC levels were in concordance with the disease activity status. Conclusions: Saliva FLC levels may be a useful biomarker for discriminating between stable remission and active disease. The developed test may serve as a new, non-invasive, and inexpensive tool for monitoring disease activity and response to treatment in MS.

Original languageEnglish
Article number102339
JournalMultiple Sclerosis and Related Disorders
StatePublished - Sep 2020


  • Biomarkers
  • Free light chains
  • Immunoglobulins
  • Multiple sclerosis
  • Saliva


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