Do antibodies to myelin basic protein isolated from multiple sclerosis cross-react with measles and other common virus antigens?

C. C A Bernard, E. Townsend, V. B. Randell, H. G. Williamson

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Immunological activity to various antigens, including brain components, measles and other viruses, had been associated with IgG in multiple sclerosis (MS). One possible explanation for the presence of anti-viral antibodies and antibody to myelin basic protein (MBPS) in MS patients is that there are antigenic determinants common to certain viruses and MBP. To assess this possibility, IgG from individual brains and sera from patients with MS, subacute sclerosing panencephalitis (SSPE) and controls was isolated by protein A and MBP-Sepharose affinity chromatography. Antibody to MBP was measured with a solid phase radioimmunoassay and antibody to measles and other viruses by immunofluorescence and/or complement fixation. Anti-MBP activity was detected in brain extracts and sera of all MS patients tested. In contrast to the lower level of antibody to MBP in control brains, high levels of anti-MBP antibodies were found in most of the normal sera. There was no correlation between the presence and levels of serum anti-measles antibodies and the anti-MBP activity. None of the anti-MBP antibodies affinity purified from brain and serum of MS patients reacted with any of the viruses tested, including measles. IgG purified from SSPE patients or from a rabbit hyperimmunized with measles antigen had no reactivity to MBP, despite high levels of anti-measles antibody. It is concluded that there is no direct link between the presence of antibody to MBP and antibody to measles and other viruses in MS patients.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)98-106
Number of pages9
JournalClinical & Experimental Immunology
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 1983
Externally publishedYes

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