Neurofascin-155 Immunoglobulin Subtypes: Clinicopathologic Associations and Neurologic Outcomes

Background and Objective

Multiple studies highlighting the diagnostic utility of neurofascin-155 (NF155)–immunoglobulin G4 (IgG4) in chronic demyelinating inflammatory polyradiculoneuropathy (CIDP) have been published. However, few studies comprehensively address the long-term outcomes or clinical utility of NF155–immunoglobulin M (IgM) or NF155–immunoglobulin G (IgG) in the absence of NF155-IgG4. We evaluated phenotypic and histopathologic specificity and differences in outcomes between these NF155 antibody isotypes or IgG subclasses. We also compare NF155-IgG4-seropositive cases to other seropositive demyelinating neuropathies.

Methods

Neuropathy patient sera at Mayo Clinic were tested for NF155-IgG4, NF155-IgG, and NF155-IgM autoantibodies. Demographic and clinical data of all seropositive cases were reviewed.

Results

We identified 32 NF155 cases (25 NF155-IgG-positive [20 NF155-IgG4-positive], 7 NF155-IgM-seropositive). NF155-IgG4-seropositive patients clinically presented with distal more than proximal muscle weakness, positive sensory symptoms (prickling, asymmetric paresthesia, neuropathic pain), and gait ataxia. Cranial nerve involvement (11/20 [55%]) and papilledema (4/12 [33%]) occurred in many. Electrodiagnostic testing (EDX) demonstrated demyelinating polyradiculoneuropathy (19/20 [95%]). Autonomic involvement occurred in 45% (n = 9, median composite autonomic scoring scale score 3.5, range 1–7). Nerve biopsies from the NF155-IgG4 patients (n = 11) demonstrated grouped segmental demyelination (50%), myelin reduplication (45%), and paranodal swellings (50%). Most patients needed second- and third-line immunosuppression but had favorable long-term outcomes (n = 18). Among 14 patients with serial EDX over 2 years, all except one demonstrated improvement after treatment. NF155-IgG-positive, NF155-IgG4-negative (NF155-IgG-positive) and NF155-IgM-positive patients were phenotypically different from NF155-IgG4-seropositive patients. Sensory ataxia, neuropathic pain, cerebellar dysfunction, and root/plexus MRI abnormalities were significantly more common in NF155-IgG4-positive compared to myelin-associated glycoprotein (MAG)–IgM neuropathy. Chronic immune sensory polyradiculopathy (CISP)/CISP-plus phenotype was more common among contactin-1 neuropathies compared to NF155-IgG4-positive cases. NF155-IgG4-positive cases responded favorably to immunotherapy compared to MAG-IgM-seropositive cases with distal acquired demyelinating symmetric neuropathy (p < 0.001) and had better long-term clinical outcomes compared to contactin-1 IgG (p = 0.04).

Discussion

We report long-term follow-up and clinical outcome of NF155-IgG4 cases. NF155-IgG4 but not IgM or IgG cases have unique clinical–electrodiagnostic signature. We demonstrate NF155-IgG4-positive patients, unlike classical CIDP with neuropathic pain and dysautonomia common at presentation. Long-term outcomes were favorable.

Classification of Evidence

This study provides Class III evidence that NF155-IgG4-seropositive patients, compared to patients with typical CIDP, present with distal more than proximal muscle weakness, positive sensory symptoms, and gait ataxia.

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