Optimizing IgG therapy in chronic autoimmune neuropathies: a hypothesis driven approach

Muscle Nerve. 2015 Mar;51(3):315-26. doi: 10.1002/mus.24526. Epub 2015 Jan 29.


Prolonged intravenous immunoglobulin (IVIG) therapy is used for the chronic autoimmune neuropathies chronic idiopathic demyelinating polyneuropathy and multifocal motor neuropathy, but the doses and treatment intervals are usually chosen empirically due to a paucity of data from dose-response studies. Recent studies of the electrophysiology and immunology of these diseases suggest that antibody-induced reversible dysfunction of nodes of Ranvier may play a role in conduction block and disability which responds to immunotherapy more rapidly than would be expected for demyelination or axonal damage per se. Clinical reports suggest that in some cases, the effects of each dose of IVIG may be transient, wearing-off before the next dose is due. These observations lead us to hypothesize that that therapeutic IgG acts by competing with pathologic autoantibodies and that individual patients may require different IgG levels for optimal therapeutic effects. Frequent IVIG dosing and weekly subcutaneous IgG have been tried as ways of continuously maintaining high serum IgG levels, resulting in stabilization of neuromuscular function in small case series. Frequent grip strength and disability measurements, performed by the patient at home and reported electronically, can be used to assess the extent and duration of responses to IgG doses. Individualization of IgG treatment regimens may optimize efficacy, minimize disability, and identify nonresponders.

Keywords: CIDP; IVIG; MMN; SCIG; monitoring.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Autoantibodies / blood
  • Autoantibodies / immunology
  • Autoimmune Diseases / blood
  • Autoimmune Diseases / drug therapy*
  • Autoimmune Diseases / immunology
  • Chronic Disease
  • Humans
  • Immunoglobulin G / administration & dosage*
  • Immunoglobulin G / blood
  • Immunoglobulin G / immunology
  • Immunoglobulins, Intravenous / administration & dosage*
  • Immunoglobulins, Intravenous / blood
  • Immunoglobulins, Intravenous / immunology
  • Polyneuropathies / blood
  • Polyneuropathies / drug therapy*
  • Polyneuropathies / immunology


  • Autoantibodies
  • Immunoglobulin G
  • Immunoglobulins, Intravenous