Demyelinating Antibodies to Myelin Oligodendrocyte Glycoprotein and Galactocerebroside Induce Degradation of Myelin Basic Protein in Isolated Human Myelin


Address correspondence and reprint requests to Dr. C. C. A. Bernard at Neuroimmunology Laboratory, La Trobe University, Bundoora, Victoria, 3083 Australia.


Abstract: Although the specificity of multiple sclerosis (MS) brain immunoglobulins (lgs) remains unknown, the incubation of these lgs with human myelin can lead to myelin basic protein (MBP) degradation mediated by neutral proteases. In this study, we demonstrate that monoclonal antibodies (mAbs) specific to myelin components such as the CNS-specific myelin oligodendrocyte glycoprotein (MOG) and galactocerebroside (GalC) are found to induce a significant loss of MBP mediated by neutral proteases in myelin. By contrast, antibodies to periaxonal and structural components of myelin, such as MBP and myelin-associated glycoprotein, are ineffective in inducing such MBP degradation. Among the 11 different anti-MOG mAbs directed to externally located epitopes of MOG, only two were found to induce a significant degradation of MBP, suggesting that antibody-induced MBP degradation is not only antigen specific but also epitope specific. Based on the inhibition of MBP degradation in the presence of EGTA and the analysis of the degradation products obtained following incubation of myelin with mAbs to GalC and MOG (8-18C5), the neutral protease involved in this antibody-induced degradation of MBP could be calcium-activated neutral protease. Taken together, these results suggest that antibodies to GalC and MOG can play a major role in destabilizing myelin through MBP breakdown mediated by neutral proteases and thus have an important role to play in the pathogenesis of MS.