Background and purpose: High-dose intravenous immunoglobulin (IVIg) is an established treatment for chronic inflammatory demyelinating polyradiculoneuropathy (CIDP). Although Fc receptors on natural killer cells have been suggested as a target for IVIg, the pharmacological effects are not yet clarified. We hypothesize that IVIg therapy, dependent on the plasma IgG level, suppresses the cytotoxic capacity by a reduction in numbers of NK cells and their Fc receptor CD16.
Patients and methods: Ten consecutive patients with CIDP in maintenance therapy with IVIg were studied before and immediately after the infusion of 0.7-2.0 g/kg IVIg. Peripheral blood mononuclear cell samples from these patients were analyzed immediately after isolation using flow cytometry and cytotoxicity assays.
Results: We found that following IVIg treatment, the cytotoxic activity of NK cells in CIDP patients was suppressed, partly caused by a dose-dependent decline in the number of circulating NK cells. In addition, a dose-dependent blockage of CD16 occurred.
Conclusions: The study implies that IVIg infusion induces a substantial decline in the number of peripheral NK cells and a suppression of NK-cell-mediated cytotoxicity. We propose that these impairments of the NK cells contribute to the therapeutic effect of IVIg in CIDP.
© 2011 Dep. Medical Microbiology and Immunology, University of Aarhus. European Journal of Neurology © 2011 EFNS.