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This project aims to develop biomarkers for the diagnosis and treatment of multiple sclerosis (MS), a clinically heterogenous disease resulting from demyelination of the central nervous system. Extracellular vesicles (EVs) have shown potential as such a biomarker.

EVs were isolated from the plasma and cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) of patients with suspected MS and patients with headaches. Participants are recruited before starting treatment for their condition and controls were only included if the cause of headache was determined to be non-inflammatory. Proteomic analysis will be conducted on the plasma and CSF before isolating the EVs, as well as the isolated plasma and CSF derived EVs themselves.

Currently, 7 MS patient’s samples and 7 control headache patients have enrolled. Proteomic bulk analysis will be conducted in January on the samples providing immediate and consistent comparison points. Preliminary analysis has shown a higher concentration of EVs in patients in MS compared to those with headaches consistent with the literature, and initial target molecules such as L-tryptophan have been found to be downregulated. This should be consistent with the bulk analysis.

Recruitment was delayed as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, however, as this study is the first to look at both plasma and CSF derived EVs at the diagnostic phase of MS, the results should reveal target molecules for further assessment with a larger sample size. Although the focus of the field of extracellular vesicles in MS has centered around treatment delivery mechanisms, this study should help show their potential as diagnostic biomarkers.