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July 1990

The Clinical Course of Multiple Sclerosis During Pregnancy and the Puerperium

Author Affiliations

From the Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology, The Genesee Hospital, Rochester, NY (Dr Birk); the Department of Neurology, University of New Mexico Medical Center, Albuquerque (Dr Ford); the College of Nursing, Rutgers/State University of New Jersey, New Brunswick (Dr Smeltzer); the Departments of Pathology and Laboratory Medicine (Dr Ryan) and Obstetrics and Gynecology (Dr Miller), University of Rochester (NY) School of Medicine; and the Mellen Center for Multiple Sclerosis Treatment and Research, The Cleveland (Ohio) Clinic Foundation (Dr Rudick).

Arch Neurol. 1990;47(7):738-742. doi:10.1001/archneur.1990.00530070026007

• Eight women with multiple sclerosis were followed up through pregnancy. Clinical conditions, T-cell subsets, and levels of immunoactive pregnancy-associated proteins were measured twice during the pregnancy and twice during the first postpartum year. None of the women's conditions worsened during pregnancy, although one woman reported a slight increase of symptoms. Six of the eight women experienced relapses within the first 7 weeks after delivery. The number and percent of CD8 suppressor T cells were lower, and the CD4 helper-CD8 suppressor T-cell ratio was higher in the pregnant patients with multiple sclerosis compared with pregnant control women throughout pregnancy and the first 6 months post partum. There was no evident relationship between these parameters and clinical disease activity. Levels of α-fetoprotein, α2-pregnancy-associated glycoprotein, and pregnancy-associated plasma protein A, all immuno-suppressive proteins associated with pregnancy, were not significantly different in pregnant patients with multiple sclerosis and pregnant controls without multiple sclerosis. The study suggested that the risk of clinical relapse after delivery may be higher than has been reported previously. Furthermore, although there were differences in suppressor T cells, they were not predictably linked to changes in clinical disease activity.

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