Plasma Protein Levels Analysis in Multiple Sclerosis Sardinian Families Identified C9 and CYP24A1 as Candidate Biomarkers

Andrea Nova, Teresa Fazia, Ashley Beecham, Valeria Saddi, Marialuisa Piras, Jacob L. McCauley, Carlo Berzuini, Luisa Bernardinelli

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Here we investigate protein levels in 69 multiple sclerosis (MS) cases and 143 healthy controls (HC) from twenty Sardinian families to search for promising biomarkers in plasma. Using antibody suspension bead array technology, the plasma levels of 56 MS-related proteins were obtained. Differences between MS cases and HC were estimated using Linear Mixed Models or Linear Quantile Mixed Models. The proportion of proteins level variability, explained by a set of 119 MS-risk SNPs as to the literature, was also quantified. Higher plasma C9 and CYP24A1 levels were found in MS cases compared to HC (p < 0.05 after Holm multiple testing correction), with protein level differences estimated as, respectively, 0.53 (95% CI: 0.25, 0.81) and 0.42 (95% CI: 0.19, 0.65) times plasma level standard deviation measured in HC. Furthermore, C9 resulted in both statistically significantly higher relapsing-remitting MS (RRMS) and secondary-progressive MS (SPMS) compared to HC, with SPMS showing the highest differences. Instead, CYP24A1 was statistically significantly higher only in RRMS as compared to HC. Respectively, 26% (95% CI: 10%, 44%) and 16% (95% CI: 9%, 39%) of CYP24A1 and C9 plasma level variability was explained by known MS-risk SNPs. Our results highlight C9 and CYP24A1 as potential biomarkers in plasma for MS and allow us to gain insight into molecular disease mechanisms.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number151
Issue number2
StatePublished - Feb 2022
Externally publishedYes


  • Biomarkers
  • Explained variability
  • Family data
  • Plasma proteins
  • Suspension bead array technology

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Ecology, Evolution, Behavior and Systematics
  • Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology(all)
  • Space and Planetary Science
  • Palaeontology


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