Rituximab in the treatment of polyneuropathy associated with anti-MAG antibodies.
ABSTRACT No causative or curative therapy exists for the polyneuropathy associated with antibodies to myelin-associated glycoprotein (anti-MAG). Rituximab is a mouse-human chimeric antibody that specifically eliminates B-cells and B-cell precursors. Preliminary results suggest a beneficial effect on antibody-dependent autoimmune diseases. Nine patients with an anti-MAG-associated IgM polyneuropathy received rituximab once weekly for 4 weeks. In all patients, the number of B-cells in the peripheral blood declined below levels of detection, and the IgM levels decreased between 35% and 82% (median, 58%). In eight patients, lowering of the anti-MAG antibody titers of more than 52% was observed. Clinical status improved in six patients, remained stable in two, and worsened in one. The motor nerve conduction velocity improved by at least 10% in one ulnar nerve in seven patients and worsened in two. Rituximab was well tolerated and is a promising new drug in the treatment of patients with anti-MAG-associated polyneuropathy.
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ABSTRACT: We measured the alcohol sugars in sural nerves from 11 controls, 21 conventionally treated patients with diabetes and neuropathy, and 4 diabetics without neuropathy. The results were related to metabolic control and to clinical, neuropathological, and morphometric abnormalities in the nerves. The mean endoneurial glucose, fructose, and sorbitol values were higher in diabetic patients than in controls. Linear regression analysis revealed that nerve sorbitol content in the diabetics was inversely related to the number of myelinated fibers (P = 0.003). Mean nerve levels of myo-inositol were not decreased in the diabetic patients, with or without neuropathy, and were not associated with any of the neuropathological end points of diabetes. Our results indicate that myo-inositol deficiency is not part of the pathogenesis of human diabetic neuropathy, as had been hypothesized. Other accumulated alcohol sugars, however, were increased in diabetes and were associated with the severity of neuropathy. On repeat biopsy, six diabetics, treated for a year with the aldose reductase inhibitor sorbinil, had decreased endoneurial levels of sorbitol (P less than 0.01) and fructose (0.05 less than P less than 0.1), but unchanged levels of myo-inositol.New England Journal of Medicine 10/1988; 319(9):542-8. · 51.66 Impact Factor
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ABSTRACT: Many data point to a pathogenetic role for IgM antibodies to the myelin-associated glycoprotein (MAG) in the neuropathy associated with IgM monoclonal gammopathy, supporting the use of immune therapies in affected patients. Almost 50% of patients have been reported to improve with these therapies, but the effect of treatment on the long-term prognosis of the neuropathy remains unclear. We analysed the outcome of 25 of the 26 patients (mean age at entry 65 years, range 45-85 years) with neuropathy and high anti-MAG IgM, first examined by us between 1984 and 1994. By January 1999, after a mean follow-up of 8.5 years (range 2-13 years) and a mean duration of neuropathy symptoms of 11.8 years (range 3-18, >10 years in 16), 17 patients (68%) (aged 58-84 years, mean 73.4) were alive, while eight (32%) (aged 69-78 years, mean 73.1) had died 3-15 years (mean 10.6) after neuropathy onset; in none of them was death caused by the neuropathy, although in three it was possibly related to the therapy for the neuropathy. By the time of last follow-up or patients' death, 11 patients (44%) were disabled by severe hand tremor, gait ataxia or both. The disability rates at 5, 10 and 15 years from neuropathy onset were 16, 24 and 50%, respectively. Of the 19 patients treated during the follow-up for 0.5-11 years (mean 4 years) with various immune therapies, five reported a consistent and four a slight improvement in the neuropathy (total 47%) after one treatment or more, but in only one patient was improvement persistent throughout, to the end of follow-up. In 10 patients (53%), severe adverse events, possibly related to therapy, occurred during treatment and were considered responsible for the patient's death in three. The neurological impairment did not differ between treated and untreated patients at the end of a similar follow-up. Our findings indicate that (i) the majority of patients with neuropathy and anti-MAG IgM have a favourable prognosis even after several years, and (ii) current immune therapies, though temporarily effective in half of the patients, are associated with considerable side effects which limit their prolonged use and efficacy, suggesting that until more effective or safer therapies become available, they should probably be reserved for patients impaired in their daily life or in a progressive phase of the disease.Brain 04/2000; 123 ( Pt 4):710-7. · 9.92 Impact Factor
- Journal of Neurology Neurosurgery & Psychiatry 09/2000; 69(2):279-80. · 4.92 Impact Factor