Antibodies against the flotillin-1/2 complex in patients with multiple sclerosis

Brain Commun. 2023 Apr 4;5(2):fcad109. doi: 10.1093/braincomms/fcad109. eCollection 2023.


Multiple sclerosis is a tissue-specific autoimmune disease of the central nervous system in which the antigen(s) remains elusive. Antibodies targeting the flotillin-1/2 complex have been described in 1-2% of the patients in a recent study. Other candidate antigens as anoctamin-2 or neurofascin-155 have been previously described in multiple sclerosis patients, although their clinical relevance remains uncertain. Our study aims to analyse the frequency and clinical relevance of antibodies against neurofascin-155, anoctamin-2 and flotillin-1/2 complex in multiple sclerosis. Serum (n = 252) and CSF (n = 50) samples from 282 multiple sclerosis patients were included in the study. The control group was composed of 260 serum samples (71 healthy donors and 189 with other neuroinflammatory disorders). Anti-flotillin-1/2, anti-anoctamin-2 and anti-neurofascin-155 antibodies were tested by cell-based assays using transfected cells. We identified six multiple sclerosis patients with antibodies against the flotillin-1/2 complex (2.1%) and one multiple sclerosis patient with antibodies against anoctamin-2 (0.35%). All multiple sclerosis patients were negative for anti-neurofascin-155 antibodies. Three of the anti-flotillin-1/2 positive patients showed anti-flotillin-1/2 positivity in other serum samples extracted at different moments of their disease. Immunoglobulin G subclasses of anti-flotillin-1/2 antibodies were predominantly one and three. We confirm that antibodies targeting the flotillin-1/2 complex are present in a subgroup of patients with multiple sclerosis. Further studies are needed to understand the clinical and pathological relevance of anti-flotillin-1/2 autoantibodies in multiple sclerosis.

Keywords: antigens; autoantibodies; multiple sclerosis.