Rituximab reduces B cells and T cells in cerebrospinal fluid of multiple sclerosis patients

Anne H. Cross, Jennifer L. Stark, Joanne Lauber, Michael J. Ramsbottom, Jeri Anne Lyons

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

335 Scopus citations


Effects of B cell depletion by rituximab, a monoclonal antibody to CD20, were studied in patients with relapsing MS that had not responded optimally to standard immunomodulatory therapies. Flow cytometry demonstrated reduced cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) B cells and T cells in most patients at 6 months post-treatment. ELISAs demonstrated modest reductions in serum antibodies to myelin oligodendrocyte glycoprotein and myelin basic protein in some subjects. Beta-interferon neutralizing antibodies were reduced in three subjects, but developed anew after treatment in three others, suggesting caution in considering rituximab as a means to eliminate NABs. In summary, rituximab depleted B cells from CSF at 24 weeks after initial treatment, and this B cell depletion was associated with a reduction in CSF T cells as well.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)63-70
Number of pages8
JournalJournal of Neuroimmunology
Issue number1-2
StatePublished - Nov 2006


  • Autoantibodies
  • B lymphocytes
  • Multiple sclerosis
  • Myelin basic protein antibodies
  • Myelin oligodendrocyte glycoprotein antibodies
  • Rituximab
  • Treatment


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