Neuromyelitis optica (NMO, Devic syndrome) is associated with antibodies to aquaporin-4 (NMO-IgG/AQP4-Ab) in the majority of cases. NMO-IgG/AQP4-Ab seropositivity in patients with NMO and its spectrum disorders has important differential diagnostic, prognostic and therapeutic implications. So-called cell-based assays (CBA) are thought to provide the best AQP4-Ab detection rates.
Susac syndrome (SuS) is a rare disorder thought to be caused by autoimmune-mediated occlusions of microvessels in the brain, retina and inner ear leading to central nervous system (CNS) dysfunction, visual disturbances due to branch retinal artery occlusions (BRAO), and hearing deficits. Recently, a role for anti-endothelial cell antibodies (AECA) in SuS has been proposed.
Although aquaporin-4 (AQP4) is widely expressed in the human brain cortex, lesions are rare in neuromyelitis optica (NMO) spectrum disorders (NMOSD). Recently, however, several studies have demonstrated occult structural brain atrophy in NMO.
Recently, we identified a novel Purkinje cell-specific autoantibody (termed anti-Ca) targeting rhoGTPase-activating-protein-26 (ARHGAP26) in a patient with cerebellar ataxia. Here we describe a new case of anti-Ca/ARHGAP26 antibody-positive cerebellar ataxia. Cerebellar ataxia was associated with signs of possible limbic encephalitis in this case. The 24-year-old man presented with subacute pancerebellar ataxia, flattened affect, and cognitive decline. Neuropsychological testing revealed working memory deficits, compromised verbal learning and recall, attention deficits, slowed information processing, interference difficulty, and reduced spatial recognition. MRI showed severe pancerebellar atrophy. Serological examinations revealed high-titre anti-Ca/anti-ARHGAP26 antibodies. The antibodies belonged to the IgG1 subclass and were produced intrathecally. This case further corroborates the association of anti-Ca antibodies with cerebellar ataxia, expands the clinical spectrum, and highlights the necessity of antigen-specific diagnostic testing in immune-mediated cerebellar ataxia.
Neuromyelitis optica (NMO, Devic's syndrome) is a clinical syndrome characterized by optic neuritis and (mostly longitudinally extensive) myelitis. If untreated, NMO usually takes a relapsing course and often results in blindness and tetra- or paraparesis. The discovery of autoantibodies to aquaporin-4, the most abundant water channel in the CNS, in 70-80% of patients with NMO (termed NMO-IgG or AQP4-Ab) and subsequent investigations into the pathogenic impact of this new reactivity have led to the recognition of NMO as an autoimmune condition and as a disease entity in its own right, distinct from classic multiple sclerosis. Here, we comprehensively review the current knowledge on the role of NMO-IgG/AQP4-Ab, B cells, T cells, and the innate immune system in the pathogenesis of NMO.
Neuromyelitis optica (NMO, Devics syndrome), long considered a clinical variant of multiple sclerosis, is now regarded as a distinct disease entity. Major progress has been made in the diagnosis and treatment of NMO since aquaporin-4 antibodies (AQP4-Ab; also termed NMO-IgG) were first described in 2004. In this review, the Neuromyelitis Optica Study Group (NEMOS) summarizes recently obtained knowledge on NMO and highlights new developments in its diagnosis and treatment, based on current guidelines, the published literature and expert discussion at regular NEMOS meetings. Testing of AQP4-Ab is essential and is the most important test in the diagnostic work-up of suspected NMO, and helps to distinguish NMO from other autoimmune diseases. Furthermore, AQP4-Ab testing has expanded our knowledge of the clinical presentation of NMO spectrum disorders (NMOSD). In addition, imaging techniques, particularly magnetic resonance imaging of the brain and spinal cord, are obligatory in the diagnostic workup. It is important to note that brain lesions in NMO and NMOSD are not uncommon, do not rule out the diagnosis, and show characteristic patterns. Other imaging modalities such as optical coherence tomography are proposed as useful tools in the assessment of retinal damage. Therapy of NMO should be initiated early. Azathioprine and rituximab are suggested as first-line treatments, the latter being increasingly regarded as an established therapy with long-term efficacy and an acceptable safety profile in NMO patients. Other immunosuppressive drugs, such as methotrexate, mycophenolate mofetil and mitoxantrone, are recommended as second-line treatments. Promising new therapies are emerging in the form of anti-IL6 receptor, anti-complement or anti-AQP4-Ab biologicals.
Optic neuritis (ON) is a key feature of neuromyelitis optica (NMO). Recently, NMO patients of predominantly Afro-Brazilian origin were evaluated by visual evoked potentials (VEPs) and showed marked amplitude reductions. Here, we analyzed VEPs in a predominantly Caucasian cohort, consisting of 43 patients with definite NMO, 18 with anti-aquaporin (AQP) 4 antibody-seropositive NMO spectrum disorders and 61 matched healthy controls. We found reduced amplitudes in only 12.3%, prolonged latencies in 41.9% and a lack of response in 14.0% of NMO eyes. Delayed P100 latencies in eyes without prior ON suggested this was a subclinical affection. The data indicate heterogenous patterns in NMO, warranting further investigation.
Antibodies to aquaporin-4 (called NMO-IgG or AQP4-Ab) constitute a sensitive and highly specific serum marker of neuromyelitis optica (NMO) that can facilitate the differential diagnosis of NMO and classic multiple sclerosis. NMO-IgG/AQP4-Ab seropositive status has also important prognostic and therapeutic implications in patients with isolated longitudinally extensive myelitis (LETM) or optic neuritis (ON). In this article, we comprehensively review and critically appraise the existing literature on NMO-IgG/AQP4-Ab testing. All available immunoassays-including tissue-based (IHC), cell-based (ICC, FACS) and protein-based (RIPA, FIPA, ELISA, Western blotting) assays-and their differential advantages and disadvantages are discussed. Estimates for sensitivity, specificity, and positive and negative likelihood ratios are calculated for all published studies and accuracies of the various immunoassay techniques compared. Subgroup analyses are provided for NMO, LETM and ON, for relapsing vs. monophasic disease, and for various control groups (eg, MS vs. other controls). Numerous aspects of NMO-IgG/AQP4-Ab testing relevant for clinicians (eg, impact of antibody titers and longitudinal testing, indications for repeat testing, relevance of CSF testing and subclass analysis, NMO-IgG/AQP4-Ab in patients with rheumatic diseases) as well as technical aspects (eg, AQP4-M1 vs. AQP4-M23-based assays, intact AQP4 vs. peptide substrates, effect of storage conditions and freeze/thaw cycles) and pitfalls are discussed. Finally, recommendations for the clinical application of NMO-IgG/AQP4-Ab serology are given.
Background. Neuromyelitis optica (NMO) is a severely disabling autoimmune disorder of the CNS, which mainly affects the optic nerves and spinal cord. However, recent studies have shown that extra-opticospinal are more common in NMO than previously thought. Objective. To investigate olfactory function (OF) in patients with neuromyelitis optica (NMO) versus healthy controls (HC). Methods. Psychophysical testing of the orthonasal OF was performed using the Threshold-Discrimination-Identification test (TDI), measuring different qualities of olfaction, in 10 unselected NMO patients and 10?HC. Results. Five of 10?NMO patients (50%) showed hyposmia, while all 10?HC were normosmic. Moreover, NMO patients had significantly lower mean TDI-scores compared to HC, based on a poorer performance in both the Discrimination and the Identification subtests. Conclusions. Our results suggest that hyposmia might be part of the expanding clinical spectrum of NMO.
In Susac syndrome, occlusions of microvessels--presumed to be mediated by an autoimmune response to an as yet unknown antigen--lead to a characteristic clinical triad of CNS dysfunction, branch retinal artery occlusions, and sensorineural hearing impairment. Susac syndrome is considered a rare but important differential diagnosis in numerous neurological, psychiatric, ophthalmological, and ear, nose and throat disorders. Improved understanding of this disorder is crucial, therefore, to ensure that patients receive appropriate treatment and care. Current knowledge on Susac syndrome is largely based on reports of single patients, small case series, and nonsystematic reviews. The aim of this Review is to extend these previous, primarily anecdotal findings by compiling data from all 304 cases of Susac syndrome that have been published worldwide, which were identified following a literature search with predefined search, inclusion and exclusion criteria. From this data, we present an overview of demographic, clinical and diagnostic data on Susac syndrome, providing a reliable basis for our current understanding of this rare disease. Where possible, we make recommendations for clinical diagnosis, differential diagnosis, and management of patients with suspected Susac syndrome.
The suppressor function of regulatory T cells (Tregs) is impaired in multiple sclerosis (MS), but the mechanisms underlying this deficiency are not fully understood. As Tregs counteract the sustained elevation of intracellular calcium, which is indispensable for full activation of conventional T cells (Tcons), we hypothesized that interference with this pathway might prompt MS-related Treg dysfunction. Using single-cell live imaging, we observed that Tregs rapidly reduce Ca(2+) influx and downstream signals in Tcons upon cell contact, yet differ in their potency to efficiently suppress several target cells at the same time. Strikingly, individual Tregs harboring a CD4(+)CD25(+)FOXP3(+)CD45RA(+) naive phenotype suppressed significantly more adjacent Tcons than did CD4(+)CD25(+)FOXP3(+)CD45RA(-) memory Tregs. Some constituents even completely failed to dampen Tcon Ca(2+) influx and were contained exclusively in the memory subset. In accordance with their more powerful suppressive performance, the Ca(2+) signature was considerably enhanced in naive Tregs in response to TCR triggering, compared with the memory counterparts. MS Tregs displayed a significantly diminished suppression of mean Ca(2+) influx in the sum of individual Tcons recorded. This reduced inhibitory activity was closely linked to decreased numbers of individual Tcons becoming suppressed by adjacent Tregs and, in turn, correlated with a marked reduction of naive subtypes and concomitant expansion of nonsuppressive memory phenotypes. We conclude that the superior achievement of naive Tregs is pivotal in maintaining Treg efficiency. As a consequence, MS Tregs become defective because they lack naive subtypes and are disproportionately enriched in memory cells that have lost their inherent downregulatory activity.
Here we report on a case of contactin-associated protein-2 (Caspr2) antibody positive but voltage gated potassium channel (VGKC) antibody negative limbic encephalitis associated with cerebellar ataxia, myoclonus and dyskinesias with favorable response to immunotherapy. This case underlines the importance of Caspr2-specific antibody testing and demonstrates that Caspr2 antibodies are associated with a broader clinical spectrum than hitherto described.
The discovery of a novel serum autoantibody (termed NMO-IgG or AQP4-Ab) in a subset of patients in 2004 has revived interest in neuromyelitis optica (NMO). While the history of classical multiple sclerosis has been extensively studied, only little is known about the history of NMO. In the present article, we provide a comprehensive review of the early history of this rare but intriguing syndrome. We trace the origins of the concept of NMO in the 19th century medical literature and follow its evolution throughout the 20th and into the 21st century. Finally, we discuss recent proposals to revise the concept of NMO and explain why there is indeed a need for a more systematic and descriptive nomenclature.
Recently, we discovered a novel serum and cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) autoantibody (anti-Ca) to Purkinje cells in a patient with autoimmune cerebellar ataxia (ACA) and identified the RhoGTPase-activating protein 26 (ARHGAP26; alternative designations include GTPase regulator associated with focal adhesion kinase pp125, GRAF, and oligophrenin-1-like protein, OPHN1L) as the target antigen. Here, we report on two new cases of ARHGAP26 autoantibody-positive ACA that were first diagnosed after publication of the index case study. While the index patient developed ACA following an episode of respiratory infection with still no evidence for malignancy 52 months after onset, neurological symptoms heralded ovarian cancer in one of the patients described here. Our finding of anti-Ca/anti-ARHGAP26 antibodies in two additional patients supports a role of autoimmunity against ARHGAP26 in the pathogenesis of ACA. Moreover, the finding of ovarian cancer in one of our patients suggests that anti-Ca/anti-ARHGAP26-positive ACA might be of paraneoplastic aetiology in some cases. In conclusion, testing for anti-Ca/anti-ARHGAP26 should be included in the diagnostic work-up of patients with ACA, and an underlying tumour should be considered in patients presenting with anti-Ca/ARHGAP26 antibody-positive ACA.
Autoantibodies to the gamma-aminobutyric acid-B (GABAB) receptor were recently described in patients with limbic encephalitis presenting with early or prominent seizures. We report on a 64-year-old man with malignant melanoma who during adjuvant therapy with interferon (IFN)-alpha developed cerebellar ataxia. Indirect immunofluorescence on brain tissue sections revealed high-titer (1:20,000) IgG1 serum autoantibodies to the cerebellar molecular and granular layer, which were confirmed to be directed against GABAB receptor in a cell-based assay. This case highlights cerebellar ataxia in the absence of seizures as a clinical manifestation of GABAB receptor autoimmunity and extends the spectrum of tumors underlying this condition to malignant melanoma. IFN-alpha therapy may have contributed to the development of autoimmunity in this patient.
In multiple sclerosis (MS) autoaggressive T effector cells (Teff) are not efficiently controlled by regulatory T cells (Treg) but the underlying mechanisms are incompletely understood. Proinflammatory cytokines are key factors facilitating Teff activity in chronic inflammation. Here we investigated the influence of IL-6 on Treg sensitivity of Teff from therapy-naïve MS patients with or without active disease. Compared to healthy volunteers and independent of disease course CD4(+) and especially CD8(+) MS-Teff were insensitive against functional active Treg from healthy controls. This unresponsiveness was caused by accelerated production of IL-6, elevated IL-6 receptor expression and phosphorylation of protein kinase B (PKB)/c-Akt in MS-Teff. In a positive feedback loop, IL-6 itself induced its accelerated synthesis and enhanced phosphorylation of PKB/c-Akt that finally mediated Treg resistance. Furthermore, accelerated IL-6 release especially by CD8(+) Teff prevented control of surrounding Teff, described here as "bystander resistance". Blockade of IL-6 receptor signaling or direct inhibition of PKB/c-Akt phosphorylation restored Treg responsiveness of Teff and prevented bystander resistance. In Teff of healthy controls (HC) exogenous IL-6 also changed the kinetics of IL-6 production and induced Treg unresponsiveness. This modulation was only transient in Teff from healthy volunteers, whereas accelerated IL-6 production in MS-Teff maintained also in absence of IL-6. Hence, we showed that the kinetics of IL-6 production instead of elevated IL-6 levels defines the Teff responsiveness in early Treg-T cell communication in MS independent of their disease course and propose IL-6 and associated PKB/c-Akt activation as effective therapeutic targets for modulation of Teff activity in MS.
Neuromyelitis optica (NMO) and relapsing-remitting multiple sclerosis (RRMS) are difficult to differentiate solely on clinical grounds. Optical coherence tomography (OCT) studies investigating retinal changes in both diseases focused primarily on the retinal nerve fiber layer (RNFL) while rare data are available on deeper intra-retinal layers.
Increasing evidence fosters the role of B cells (BC) in multiple sclerosis (MS). The compartmentalized distribution of BC in blood and cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) is incompletely understood. In this study, we analyzed BC-patterns and BC-immunoreactivity at these sites during active and during stable disease and the impact of disease modifying drugs (DMD) on peripheral BC-homeostasis. For this purpose we assessed BC-subsets in blood and CSF from patients with clinically isolated syndrome (CIS), relapsing remitting MS (RRMS), rheumatoid arthritis (RA), and healthy controls (HC) by flow cytometric detection of whole (W-BC), naïve, transitional (TN-BC), class-switched memory (CSM-BC), unswitched memory (USM-BC), double-negative memory (DNM-BC) BC-phenotypes, plasma blasts (PB), and plasma cells (PC). FACS-data were correlated with BC-specific chemotactic activities in CSF, intrathecal CXCL13-levels, and immunoreactivity of peripheral W-BC. Our study revealed that frequencies of systemic CSM-BC/USM-BC became contracted in active CIS/MS while proportions of naive BC, TN-BC and DNM-BC were reciprocally expanded. Moreover, the shifted BC-composition promoted reduced immunoreactivity of W-BC and resolved during remission. Cross-over changes in CSF included privileged accumulation of CSM-BC linked to intrathecal CXCL13-concentrations and expansion of PB/PC. Treatment with interferon-beta and natalizumab evoked distinct though differing redistribution of circulating BC-subsets. We conclude that symptomatic CIS and MS are accompanied by distinctive changes in peripheral and CSF BC-homeostasis. The privileged reciprocal distribution between naïve versus CSM-phenotypes in both compartments together with the marked chemotactic driving force towards BC prompted by CSF supernatants renders it likely that CSF BC are mainly recruited from peripheral blood during active CIS/MS, whereas constantly low percentages of circulating PB/PC and their failure to respond to migratory stimuli favors intrathecal generation of antibody secreting cells. Notably, BC-redistribution closely resembles alterations detectable in systemic autoimmunity associated with active RA and impacts BC-function Together with unique effects of DMDs on BC-homeostasis these findings underline the important role of BC in MS.
A new autoantibody (termed NMO-IgG, or AQP4-Ab) has recently been described in patients with neuromyelitis optica (NMO) and its formes frustes, longitudinally extensive transverse myelitis (LETM) and recurrent optic neuritis (rON). However, AQP4-Ab has been found also in patients with co-existing rheumatic diseases such as systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE) or Sjögrens syndrome (SS), conditions which are characterized by broad, polyspecific B cell activation.
Impaired suppressive capacity of CD4(+)CD25(+)FOXP3(+) regulatory T cells (Treg) from peripheral blood of patients with multiple sclerosis (MS) has been reported by multiple laboratories. It is, however, currently unresolved whether Treg dysfunction in MS patients is limited to reduced control of peripheral T cell activation since most studies analyzed peripheral blood samples only. Here, we assessed early active MS lesions in brain biopsies obtained from 16 patients with MS by FOXP3 immunohistochemistry. In addition, we used six-color flow cytometry to determine numbers of Treg by analysis of FOXP3/CD127 expression in peripheral blood and cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) of 17 treatment-naïve MS patients as well as quantities of apoptosis sensitive CD45RO(hi)CD95(hi) cells in circulating and CSF Treg subsets. Absolute numbers of FOXP3(+) and CD4(+) cells were rather low in MS brain lesions and Treg were not detectable in 30% of MS biopsies despite the presence of CD4(+) cell infiltrates. In contrast, Treg were detectable in all CSF samples and Treg with a CD45RO(hi)CD95(hi) phenotype previously shown to be highly apoptosis sensitive were found to be enriched in the CSF compared to peripheral blood of MS patients. We suggest a hypothetical model of intracerebral elimination of Treg by CD95L-mediated apoptosis within the MS lesion.
Optic neuritis is a frequent disease with well established tests and therapeutic strategies. However, possible differential diagnoses cover a broad spectrum. Therefore, clinical work-up can be challenging and routine testing and therapies may not be sufficient. In this case, a 26 year old female is described who presented with clinical features of optic neuritis, yet failed to respond to common therapeutic strategies and lost vision on the affected eye. Diagnostic nerve transection was performed, histopathology suggested inflammation. As the second nerve became affected, immunosuppressive therapy with cyclophosphamide was started and stopped further deterioration. Although additional molecular work-up of the transected nerve revealed clonal rearrangement of the B-cell-receptor-locus IgH, overall histopathologic features and the absence of systemic disease suggested an aggressive inflammatory process rather than lymphoma. Additional B-cell depletion with rituximab prompted significant and sustained visual improvement. This case emphasizes the necessity to consider rare differential diagnoses of optic neuritis, when uncommon features arise during the course of disease. Aggressive immunosuppression might be required to achieve stable improvement of vision.
Treg homeostasis is disturbed in multiple sclerosis (MS). Frequencies of recent thymic emigrant (RTE)-Treg are reduced and the disparity between RTE-Treg and long-lived memory Treg coincides with the MS-associated Treg defect, as shown previously. Recent studies demonstrate that IL-7 and thymic stromal lymphopoietin (TSLP) are critical for Treg maturation. Therefore, altered signaling through their receptors (IL-7R, TSLP receptor (TSLPR)), sharing the IL-7R?-chain (IL-7R?), might contribute to impaired Treg development. Using blood samples from 56 patients with MS and 33 healthy controls, we assessed IL-7R?-expression on conventional T cells; frequencies, phenotypes and suppressive activities of Treg, plasma levels of IL-7 and soluble IL-7R?; and screened for MS-associated IL-7RA gene polymorphism rs6897932. Moreover, we determined Treg expressing two different TCR V?-chains designating thymus-originated cells. As TSLP/TSLPR signaling in thymic myeloid dendritic cells (MDCs) promotes Treg differentiation, we measured TSLPR expression on peripheral MDCs to indirectly test whether altered TSLPR expression might add to compromised Treg neogenesis. We found reduced IL-7R? expression on conventional T cells and upregulated IL-7 plasma levels together with reduction of RTE-Treg frequencies and Treg function in MS, without clear genetic influence. Decreased IL-7R? expression in MS correlated with declined dual-receptor-Treg and reduced MDC TSLPR expression, indicating contracted thymic Treg output. We suggest that altered IL-7R/TSLPR signaling contributes to impaired Treg neogenesis in MS, which is compensated by expanded memory-Treg and finally results in dysfunctional Treg.
In 70-80% of cases, neuromyelitis optica (NMO) is associated with highly specific serum auto-antibodies to aquaporin-4 (termed AQP4-Ab or NMO-IgG). Recent evidence strongly suggests that AQP4-Ab are directly involved in the immunopathogenesis of NMO.
Antibodies to aquaporin-4 (also known as AQP4-Ab or NMO-IgG) are sensitive and highly specific serum markers of autoimmune neuromyelitis optica (NMO). Second-generation recombinant diagnostic assays can detect AQP4-Ab in >or=80% of patients with NMO, and a role for AQP4-Ab in the pathophysiology of this condition was corroborated by a series of in vitro studies that demonstrated disruption of the blood-brain barrier, impairment of glutamate homeostasis and induction of necrotic cell death by AQP4-Ab-positive serum. Additional evidence for such a role has emerged from clinical observations, including the demonstration of a correlation between serum levels of AQP4-Ab and disease activity. The finding of NMO-like CNS lesions and clinical disease following passive transfer of AQP4-Ab-positive serum in several independent animal studies provided definitive proof for a pathogenic role of AQP4-Ab in vivo. Together, these findings provide a strong rationale for the use of therapies targeted against B cells or antibodies in the treatment of NMO. In this Review, we summarize the latest evidence in support of a direct involvement of AQP4-Ab in the immunopathogenesis of NMO, and critically appraise the diagnostic tests currently available for the detection of this serum reactivity.
Antibodies to aquaporin-4 (AQP4-Ab) are found in 60-80% of patients with neuromyelitis optica (NMO), a severely disabling inflammatory CNS disorder of putative autoimmune aetiology, which predominantly affects the optic nerves and spinal cord.
Neuromyelitis optica (NMO, Devic syndrome) is an inflammatory disorder of the central nervous system of putative autoimmune etiology that primarily affects the optic nerves and spinal cord. NMO is frequently associated with immunoglobulin G (IgG) antibodies to aquaporin-4 (AQP4-IgG), which are thought to be involved in the patho-genesis of the disease. The frequency and diagnostic relevance of immunoglobulin M (IgM) antibodies to aquaporin-4 (AQP4-IgM) in patients with NMO is essentially not known. Testing for AQP4-IgM may be of importance since 20%-30% of patients with NMO are negative for AQP4-IgG. Moreover, IgM antibodies are more potent activators of complement compared with IgG, and are detectable at NMO lesional sites.
We report on a newly discovered serum and cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) reactivity to Purkinje cells (PCs) associated with subacute inflammatory cerebellar ataxia. The patient, a previously healthy 33-year-old lady, presented with severe limb and gait ataxia, dysarthria, and diplopia two weeks after she had recovered from a common cold. Immunohistochemical studies on mouse, rat, and monkey brain sections revealed binding of a high-titer (up to 1:10,000) IgG antibody to the cerebellar molecular layer, Purkinje cell (PC) layer, and white matter. The antibody is highly specific for PCs and binds to the cytoplasm as well as to the inner side of the membrane of PC somata, dendrites and axons. It is produced by B cell clones within the CNS, belongs to the IgG1 subclass, and activates complement in vitro. Western blotting of primate cerebellum extract revealed binding of CSF and serum IgG to an 80-97 kDa protein. Extensive control studies were performed to rule out a broad panel of previously described paraneoplastic and non-paraneoplastic antibodies known to be associated with cerebellar ataxia. Screening of >9000 human full length proteins by means of a protein array and additional confirmatory experiments revealed Rho GTPase activating protein 26 (ARHGAP26, GRAF, oligophrenin-1-like protein) as the target antigen. Preadsorption of the patients serum with human ARHGAP26 but not preadsorption with other proteins resulted in complete loss of PC staining. Our findings suggest a role of autoimmunity against ARHGAP26 in the pathogenesis of subacute inflammatory cerebellar ataxia, and extend the panel of diagnostic markers for this devastating disease.
80-100% of patients with multiple sclerosis (MS) display a polyspecific, intrathecal humoral immune response against a broad panel of viral agents including antibodies to measles, rubella and varicella zoster virus as its three most abundant components (called MRZ reaction [MRZR]). However, a positive MRZR reaction can also be found in some patients with CNS vasculitis, another rare autoimmune condition, raising the question whether this marker is really of high specificity for MS as previously claimed or whether it just represents a non-specific marker of CNS autoimmunity. Besides MS and CNS vasculitis, paraneoplastic neurological disorders (PND) represent the best recognized models of CNS autoimmunity.
Neurofilament proteins (Nf) are highly specific biomarkers for neuronal death and axonal degeneration. As these markers become more widely used, an inter-laboratory validation study is required to identify assay criteria for high quality performance.
The mechanisms underlying the modulation of Natural Killer (NK) cell functions by intravenous immunoglobulin (IVIg) are poorly understood. Using an ex vivo whole blood assay system we demonstrate that IVIg suppresses NK cell cytotoxicity. This was paralleled by IVIg-induced degranulation of CD56(bright), CD16(positive) NK cells, reduced expression of CD16 and elevated IFN gamma release. To assess whether these findings also occur in vivo we analyzed whole blood before and after IVIg therapy of patients. Following IVIg treatment the number of NK cells in peripheral blood dropped significantly. We observed reduced CD16 expression, elevated IFN gamma-amounts in plasma, reduced NK cell cytotoxicity, and granzyme B release into the plasma, confirming our in vitro data. These effects on the functions of NK cells describe a novel immunomodulatory effect of IVIg. The in vitro assays employed here could represent informative test systems to monitor effects of in vivo IVIg treatment at an individual level.
Naturally occurring regulatory T-cells (Treg) exhibit impaired function in patients with relapsing-remitting multiple sclerosis (RRMS) resulting from an age-inappropriate disproportion between prevalences of newly generated CD31-coexpressing naive Treg and long-lived memory Treg in the periphery. Recent evidence suggests that the immunomodulatory action of glatiramer acetate (GA) includes effects on Treg function and frequencies. We prospectively assessed suppressive activities and frequencies of Treg and Treg subsets in 15 patients with RRMS undergoing long-term therapy with GA. Treatment for up to six months reconstituted naive Treg and increased total Treg numbers with concomitant reversion of the Treg defect.
Longitudinally extensive transverse myelitis (LETM) is a condition shown to confer high risk of conversion into neuromyelitis optica (NMO). Increasing evidence from immunological and histopathological studies suggests that LETM is an autoimmune disorder caused by pathogenic antibodies to aquaporin-4 (AQP4-Ab), the most abundant water channel in the CNS, at least in a subset of patients. However, cases of infectious or parainfectious NMO/LETM (mostly associated with herpes zoster) have been repeatedly reported in the previous literature, raising the question of aetiological diversity in NMO/LETM. Here we present a case of acute LETM in a 63-year-old patient occurring two weeks after reactivation of varicella zoster virus (VZV). Serological testing revealed antibodies to AQP4. Plasma exchange was paralleled by disappearance of AQP4-Ab and sustained clinical improvement. Our observations provide further evidence for a pathogenic role of AQP4-Ab in LETM and suggest that AQP4-Ab associated auto-immunity should be considered also in apparently infectious/parainfectious settings.
Paraneoplastic limbic encephalitis (PNLE) affects limbic portions of the brain associated with recognition of social signals of emotions. Yet it is not known whether this perceptual ability is impaired in individuals with PNLE. We therefore conducted a single case study to explore possible impairments in recognising facially, vocally and bodily expressed emotions, using standardised emotion recognition tests. Facial expression recognition was tested with two forced-choice emotion-labelling tasks using static faces with either prototypical or morphed blends of basic emotions. Recognition of vocally and bodily expressed emotions was also tested with forced-choice labelling tasks, one based on prosodic cues, the other on whole-body movement cues. We found a deficit in fear and disgust recognition from both face and voice, while recognition of bodily expressed emotions was unaffected. These findings are consistent with data from previous studies demonstrating critical roles for certain brain regions - particularly the amygdala and insular cortex - in processing facially and vocally displayed basic emotions, and furthermore, suggest that recognition of bodily expressed emotions may not depend on neural structures involved in facial and vocal emotion recognition. Impaired facial and vocal emotion recognition may form a further neuropsychological marker of limbic encephalitis, in addition to the already well-described mnestic deficits.
Testing for cerebrospinal fluid (CSF)-restricted oligoclonal bands (OCB) by isoelectric focusing is used to detect intrathecally produced total IgG. By contrast, antibody indices (AI) are assessed to test for intrathecally produced antigen-specific IgG. A number of previous cases reports have suggested that AI testing might be more sensitive than OCB testing in detecting intrathecal IgG synthesis.
The seroprevalence of human T-cell leukemia virus type 1 (HTLV-1) is very high among Brazilians (1:200). HTLV-1 associated myelopathy or tropical spastic paraparesis (HAM/TSP) is the most common neurological complication of HTLV-1 infection. HAM/TSP can present with an acute/subacute form of longitudinally extensive myelitis, which can be confused with lesions seen in aquaporin-4 antibody (AQP4-Ab) positive neuromyelitis optica spectrum disorders (NMOSD) on MRI. Moreover, clinical attacks in patients with NMOSD have been shown to be preceded by viral infections in around 30% of cases.
The purpose of this study was to describe the visual prognosis as well as the frequency and clinical severity of central nervous system involvement in all acute posterior multifocal placoid pigment epitheliopathy (APMPPE) patients of one centre.
The diagnostic and pathophysiological relevance of antibodies to aquaporin-4 (AQP4-Ab) in patients with neuromyelitis optica spectrum disorders (NMOSD) has been intensively studied. However, little is known so far about the clinical impact of AQP4-Ab seropositivity.
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