Interferon beta is 1 of 2 first-line treatments for relapsing-remitting multiple sclerosis (MS). However, not all patients respond to interferon beta therapy, and to date there is a lack of surrogate markers that reliably correlate with responsiveness to interferon beta therapy in MS.
To identify allelic variants that influence response to interferon beta therapy in patients with MS.
Two hundred patients having relapsing-remitting MS treated with interferon beta and having a follow-up period of at least 2 years were classified as responders or nonresponders to treatment based on stringent clinical criteria.
Main Outcome Measures
In the first phase of the study, a pooling-based genome-wide association study of 428 867 single-nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) was performed in 53 responders and 53 nonresponders to interferon beta therapy. After applying several selection criteria, 383 SNPs were individually genotyped in an independent validation cohort of 49 responders and 45 nonresponders to interferon beta therapy using a different genotyping platform.
Eighteen SNPs had uncorrected P < .05 associated with interferon beta responder status in the validation cohort. Of these, 7 SNPs were located in genes that code for alpha-amino-3-hydroxy-5-methyl-4-isoxazole-propionic acid–type glutamate receptor GRIA3, type 1 interferon–related proteins ADAR and IFNAR2, cell cycle–dependent protein CIT, zinc finger proteins ZFAT and ZFHX4, and guanosine triphosphatase–activating protein STARD13.
This study supports an underlying polygenic response to interferon beta treatment in MS and highlights the importance of the glutamatergic system in patient response to interferon beta therapy.