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Lancet. 1999 Nov 13;354(9191):1691-5.

Pulsed monoclonal antibody treatment and autoimmune thyroid disease in multiple sclerosis.

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  • 1University of Cambridge Neurology Unit, University of Cambridge, UK.



Multiple sclerosis results from T-cell-dependent inflammatory demyelination of the central nervous system. Our objective was long-term suppression of inflammation with short-term monoclonal antibody treatment.


We depleted 95% of circulating lymphocytes in 27 patients with multiple sclerosis by means of a 5-day pulse of the humanised anti-CD52 monoclonal antibody, Campath-1H. Clinical and haematological consequences of T-cell depletion, and in-vitro responses of patients' peripheral-blood mononuclear cells were analysed serially for 18 months after treatment.


Radiological and clinical markers of disease activity were significantly decreased for at least 18 months after treatment. However, a third of patients developed antibodies against the thyrotropin receptor and carbimazole-responsive autoimmune hyperthyroidism. The depleted peripheral lymphocyte pool was reconstituted with cells that had decreased mitogen-induced proliferation and interferon gamma secretion in vitro.


Campath-1H causes the immune response to change from the Th1 phenotype, suppressing multiple sclerosis disease activity, but permitting the generation of antibody-mediated thyroid autoimmunity.

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