Rituximab in the treatment of polyneuropathy associated with anti-MAG antibodies

Muscle Nerve. 2003 May;27(5):611-5. doi: 10.1002/mus.10359.


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.

Publication types

  • Clinical Trial
  • Clinical Trial, Phase II

MeSH terms

  • Aged
  • Antibodies, Monoclonal / therapeutic use*
  • Antibodies, Monoclonal, Murine-Derived
  • Antineoplastic Agents / therapeutic use*
  • Autoantibodies / blood
  • B-Lymphocytes / immunology
  • Disability Evaluation
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Myelin-Associated Glycoprotein / immunology*
  • Pilot Projects
  • Polyneuropathies / drug therapy*
  • Polyneuropathies / immunology*
  • Rituximab
  • Treatment Outcome


  • Antibodies, Monoclonal
  • Antibodies, Monoclonal, Murine-Derived
  • Antineoplastic Agents
  • Autoantibodies
  • Myelin-Associated Glycoprotein
  • Rituximab