Optimizing IGG therapy in chronic autoimmune neuropathies: A hypothesis driven approach

Melvin Berger, Jeffrey A. Allen

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

31 Scopus citations


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.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)315-326
Number of pages12
JournalMuscle and Nerve
Issue number3
StatePublished - Mar 1 2015

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2014 The Authors.


  • CIDP
  • IVIG
  • MMN
  • Monitoring
  • SCIG


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