Neurology

Immunoadsorption in Guillain-Barre syndrome and myasthenia gravis.

Ther Apher. 2000 Jun;4(3):195-7.
 
Haupt WF, Rosenow F, van der Ven C, Birkmann C.

Department of Neurology, University of Cologne, Germany.

Elimination of circulating antibodies by hemapheresis is an empirical treatment concept in various neuroimmunological diseases. Plasma exchange (PE) has been shown to be superior to symptomatic treatment in Guillain-Barre syndrome (GBS) in two large multicenter studies. It is also effective in myasthenia gravis (MG), although no comparative studies have been performed. Immunoadsorption (IA) using polyvinyl alcohol gel columns to which phenylalanin (IM-PH) or tryptophan (IM-TR) are covalently bound is an alternative to PE, and seems to have equal efficacy and comparable side effects. This method also obviates the need for replacement of plasma with human albumin or plasma. We compared the treatment results of 11 patients with GBS treated by PE to those of 13 patients treated by IA using an IM-TR column. Here, we found no statistically significant differences with regard to efficacy and clinical or procedural complications. From these data we conclude that immunoadsorption can be used as an equal alternative to PE. A large multicenter study comparing PE, intravenous immunoglobulins (IVIG), and the combination of both in the treatment of GBS revealed no significant difference between the 3 treatment groups. In MG, only 2 small studies have been performed using IA, and no studies comparing PE or other treatments to IA have been conducted. Both investigations of IA therapy demonstrated a marked reduction in the acetylcholine receptor (AchR) antibodies and a sustained improvement of the clinical signs. These results therefore show that IA is an effective treatment for myasthenia gravis.

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