Teriflunomide treatment reduces B cells in patients with MS

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To study the immunomodulatory effect of teriflunomide on innate and adaptive immune cell populations through a pilot, open-label, observational study in a cohort of patients with relapsing-remitting MS.


Blood lymphocytes were isolated from 10 patients with MS before and after 3 or 12 months of treatment. Adaptive and innate immune cell subsets were analyzed by flow cytometry as follows: B cells (memory, regulatory, and mature subsets), T cells (effector and regulatory subsets), and natural killer (NK) cells (CD56dim and CD56bright subsets).


Our results show that teriflunomide significantly reduces absolute counts of total CD19+ B cells and mature and regulatory B-cell subsets. T cells were affected to a lesser extent, with a trend in reduction of absolute counts for both T effector CD4+ cells (Th1, Th17 and Th1/17) and T regulatory CD8+ and CD4+ cells. Teriflunomide had no detectable effect on NK-cell numbers.


In our small cohort, teriflunomide treatment affects mainly and significantly on B-cell numbers, while having a milder effect on T-cell numbers. Larger cohorts are necessary to confirm these findings and understand the effect of teriflunomide on the functionality of these cells.

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