Measles virus polypeptide-specific antibody profile in multiple sclerosis

S. Dhib-Jalbut, K. Lewis, E. Bradburn, D. E. McFarlin, H. F. McFarland

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

13 Scopus citations


Elevated antibody (Ab) titers to measles virus (MV) is a frequent finding in MS. Although MV-Abs are synthesized intrathecally, it is not known whether this is due to polyclonal activation of B cells recruited from the blood, recognition of MV antigens within the CNS, or cross-reactivity with myelin antigens. This study examined these possibilities using purified MV polypeptides. We examined Ab reactivity to each polypeptide in serum and CSF from 21 MS patients, 5 with subacute sclerosing panencephalitis (SSPE), and 11 patients with other neurologic diseases (OND), and serum from 5 patients with acute MV infection and 11 normal controls. The serum of all subjects tested contained reactivity with MV and the 5 polypeptides. Of 21 MS patients, 20 had CSF reactivity with MV compared with 3/11 ONDs and 5/5 SSPE patients. Intrathecal MVAb synthesis was present in 11/21 MS patients, 5/5 SSPE, and in none of the ONDs. Nine of 21 MS patients had intrathecal synthesis of Ab to 2 MV polypeptides. Serum and CSF reactivity in MS patients was skewed towards the F polypeptide. The results are consistent with the concept of polyclonal B cell activation within the CNS, but the heightened response to F could also reflect cross-reactivity with a relevant antigen in MS.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)430-435
Number of pages6
Issue number3
StatePublished - 1990
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Arts and Humanities (miscellaneous)
  • Clinical Neurology
  • General Neuroscience


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