Background: The anti-CD20 monoclonal antibody rituximab effectively depletes B lymphocytes and has been successfully used in the therapy of immune-mediated disorders of the peripheral nervous system. A limited effect of rituximab on B lymphocytes in the cerebrospinal fluid compartment of patients with primary progressive multiple sclerosis (MS) was recently reported.
Objective: To determine the effect of rituximab on clinical, magnetic resonance imaging, and immunological variables in a patient with relapsing-remitting MS.
Design: A patient with relapsing-remitting MS was treated with rituximab. The patient was repeatedly examined clinically and by magnetic resonance imaging. The frequency of peripheral blood and cerebrospinal fluid B lymphocytes was assessed by flow cytometry before, during, and after rituximab therapy.
Results: Rituximab monotherapy resulted in significant clinical improvement. Inflammatory surrogate markers on magnetic resonance imaging were also reduced. B lymphocytes were depleted in the cerebrospinal fluid and peripheral blood.
Conclusions: Our data demonstrate beneficial clinical effects of rituximab in relapsing-remitting MS, mediated through modulation of humoral systemic and central nervous system intrinsic immune responses. Clinical trials should determine optimal therapeutic strategies for patients with relapsing-remitting MS.