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Mouse diaphragm assay for detection of antibodies against botulinum toxin type B



With the advent of a commercial preparation of botulinum toxin type B (BT-B) for treatment of cervical dystonia detection of antibodies against BT-B (BT-B-AB) becomes necessary. For this purpose, we carried out a mouse diaphragm assay (MDA) by continuous measurement of the twitch force of a mouse hemidiaphragm preparation elicited by electric stimulation of its phrenic nerve. After exposing the preparation to BT-B 3 ng/ml the time to half-maximal twitch force reduction (paralysis time [PT]) was 69 ± 4 min (n = 25). Addition of sera from patients with antibodies against BT-A produced a PT of 68 ± 5 min (n = 24), whereas addition of sera from controls with antibodies against tetanus toxoid produced a PT of 67 ± 6 min (n = 30). When defined amounts of BT-B-AB were added to the MDA, PT was prolonged. This prolongation was correlated closely to the amount of BT-B-AB added, thus producing a calibration curve. The threshold for BT-B-AB detection was 0.4 mU/ml. When sera from 7 patients (4 women, 3 men; age 50.6 ± 14.2 years) with cervical dystonia (Toronto Western Spasmodic Torticollis Rating Scale score, 18.9 ± 2.9) and complete secondary failure of BT-B therapy (NeuroBloc; Elan Pharmaceuticals, Shannon, Ireland; 12,229 ± 2,601 MU/injection series, 1.86 ± 0.69 injection series before complete secondary therapy failure; 100.4 ± 15.8 days between injection series with normal therapeutic effect) were tested, BT-B-AB titers of more than 10 mU/ml were found in all of them. The MDA can be used to measure neutralizing BT-B-AB titers quantitatively and with adequate sensitivity and specificity. Further studies are necessary to understand the role of intermediate BT-B-AB titers in partial BT-B therapy failure. © 2005 Movement Disorder Society