Background: Natalizumab treatment provides a model for non-inflammation-induced disease progression in multiple sclerosis (MS). Objective: To study serum contactin-1 (sCNTN1) as a novel biomarker for disease progression in natalizumab-treated relapsing-remitting MS (RRMS) patients. Methods: Eighty-nine natalizumab-treated RRMS patients with minimum follow-up of 3 years were included. sCNTN1 was analyzed at baseline (before natalizumab initiation), 3, 12, 24 months (M) and last follow-up (median 5.2 years) and compared to 222 healthy controls (HC) and 15 primary progressive MS patients (PPMS). Results were compared between patients with progressive, stable, or improved disability according to EDSS-plus criteria. Results: Median sCNTN1 levels (ng/mL,) in RRMS (baseline: 10.7, 3M: 9.7, 12M: 10.4, 24M: 10.8; last follow-up: 9.7) were significantly lower compared to HC (12.5; p ⩽ 0.001). It was observed that 48% of patients showed progression during follow-up, 11% improved, and 40% remained stable. sCNTN1 levels were significantly lower in progressors both at baseline and at 12M compared to non-progressors. A 1 ng/mL decrease in baseline sCNTN1 was consistent with an odds ratio of 1.23 (95% confidence interval 1.04–1.45) (p = 0.017) for progression during follow-up. Conclusion: Lower baseline sCNTN1 concentrations were associated with long-term disability progression during natalizumab treatment, making it a possible blood-based prognostic biomarker for RRMS.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)102-110
Number of pages9
Issue number1
Early online date2021
Publication statusPublished - Jan 2022


  • Multiple sclerosis
  • contactin 1
  • disease activity
  • disease progression
  • natalizumab
  • prediction

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