The immune system in Multiple Sclerosis

This project aims to explore the immune system on multiple sclerosis pathophysiology and is divided in 3 branches:
– Tcells@MS. Our recent studies on newly diagnoses RRMS and PPMS patients show that T cells’ phenotype tip towards a less activated phenotype in patients in comparison to healthy controls. Our data strongly suggest broad peripheral immune system alterations, not exclusively related to myelin-reactive T cells, as they are estimated to represent only ~0.0001% of the total peripheral T cells. We aim to explore the mechanisms underlying the lowering of memory T cell numbers, and to understand how these observations and mechanisms can be integrated in the current model of MS pathophysiology. PI: Claudia Nobrega
– COVACiMS. Disease modifying drugs (DMD) are known to impact vaccine’s efficacy. We aim to understand the impact of the several DMD on the effectiveness of the newly introduced COVID-19 vaccines by studying the acquired and humoral immune response of MS patients. This is a multicentric study, involving 8 Portuguese hospitals. PI: João Cerqueira
– FromBarrToMS. Compelling evidence show that Epstein-Barr virus infection precedes MS though the mechanisms for this association are seldom understood. We aim to access the function and the T cell receptor (TCR) repertoire of EBV specific CD8+ T cells from MS vs. EBV-seroconverted controls. PI: Claudia Nobrega

Funding Agency

Project Reference

Project Members

Main Project Outcomes

S. Queirós, “Right ventricular segmentation in multi-view cardiac MRI using a unified U-net model”, in E. Puyol Antón et al. (eds) Statistical Atlases and Computational Models of the Heart. Multi-Disease, Multi-View, and Multi-Center Right Ventricular Segmentation in Cardiac MRI Challenge. STACOM 2021. Lecture Notes in Computer Science, vol 13131, pp. 287-295, Springer, Cham, 2022.

“Best Paper Award in the M&Ms-2 Challenge”, by M&Ms2 Challenge organizers and the Medical Image Computing and Computer Assisted Intervention (MICCAI) Society.

Main Project Outcomes

“People with Primary Progressive Multiple Sclerosis have lower number of central memory T cells and of HLA-DR+ Tregs”. J Canto-Gomes, S Da Silva-Ferreira, C S Silva, D Boleixa, A Martins Da Silva, I González- Suárez, J J Cerqueira, M Correia-Neves and C Nobrega. Cells (2023)
“Low memory T cells blood counts and high naïve regulatory T cells percentage at relapsing remitting multiple sclerosis diagnosis”. J Canto-Gomes, C S. Silva, R Rb-Silva, D Boleixa, A Martins Da Silva, R Cheynier,P Soares Costa, I González- Suárez, M Correia-Neves, J J Cerqueira and C Nóbrega. Front. Immunol. (2022). 13:901165

Oral/poster presentations:
F. Ladeira, C. Nobrega, CI. Mendes, M. Salavisa, J. Cerqueira. “COVACiMS Study: SARS-CoV-2 vaccine effectiveness in patients with multiple sclerosis”. Selected oral presentation at the European Academy of Neurology Congress. Viena, Austria (2022)

F. Ladeira, C. Nobrega, J. Cerqueira, COVACiMS collaborators. “Breakthrough COVID after primary or booster vaccination in MS patients under disease modifying treatment”. Poster presentation at ECTRIMS. Amsterdam, The Netherlands (2022)