A single dose of a neuron-binding human monoclonal antibody improves brainstem NAA concentrations, a biomarker for density of spinal cord axons, in a model of progressive multiple sclerosis

Bharath Wootla, Aleksandar Denic, Jens O. Watzlawik, Arthur E. Warrington, Moses Rodriguez

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

10 Scopus citations


Background: Intracerebral infection of susceptible mouse strains with Theiler's murine encephalomyelitis virus (TMEV) results in chronic demyelinating disease with progressive axonal loss and neurologic dysfunction similar to progressive forms of multiple sclerosis (MS). We previously showed that as the disease progresses, a marked decrease in brainstem N-acetyl aspartate (NAA; metabolite associated with neuronal integrity) concentrations, reflecting axon health, is measured. We also demonstrated stimulation of neurite outgrowth by a neuron-binding natural human antibody, IgM12. Treatment with either the serum-derived or recombinant human immunoglobulin M 12 (HIgM12) preserved functional motor activity in the TMEV model. In this study, we examined IgM-mediated changes in brainstem NAA concentrations and central nervous system (CNS) pathology. Findings: <sup>1</sup>H-magnetic resonance spectroscopy (MRS) showed that treatment with HIgM12 significantly increased brainstem NAA concentrations compared to controls in TMEV-infected mice. Pathologic analysis demonstrated a significant preservation of axons in the spinal cord of animals treated with HIgM12. Conclusions: This study links drug efficacy of slowing deficits with axon preservation and NAA concentrations in the brainstem in a model of progressive MS. HIgM12-mediated changes of NAA concentrations in the brainstem are a surrogate marker of axon injury/preservation throughout the spinal cord. This study provides proof-of-concept that a neuron-reactive human IgM can be therapeutic and provides a biomarker for clinical trials.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number83
JournalJournal of Neuroinflammation
Issue number1
StatePublished - Apr 29 2015



  • Axons
  • Brainstem
  • MRS
  • Multiple sclerosis
  • N-acetyl-aspartate
  • Theiler's murine encephalomyelitis virus

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Neuroscience(all)
  • Cellular and Molecular Neuroscience
  • Neurology
  • Immunology

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