Background and purpose: The aim of this study was to compare the levels of anti-tubulin antibodies (anti-TU) in cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) and serum using bovine tubulin as the antigen in one enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay (ELISA) method (anti-TUb antibodies) and a synthetic neuron-specific octapeptide of tubulin in a second ELISA method (anti-TUs antibodies).
Methods: Paired CSF and serum samples were obtained from 34 multiple sclerosis (MS) patients, 13 patients with various other neurological diseases (control diseases) and 17 normal control patients (CN).
Results: CSF levels of anti-TUs and anti-TUb antibodies were significantly lower in the CN group when compared to those in the MS group. On the contrary, serum levels of anti-TU antibodies did not differ among groups. The intrathecal synthesis of anti-TUs antibodies in comparison with anti-TUb was significantly increased in all groups. Significant correlations between anti-TUb and anti-TUs antibodies were observed in the CSF of all three groups. However, with regard to serum, a similar relationship was only found in the MS group.
Conclusions: The estimation of anti-TU in CSF can contribute to the overall assessment of axonal damage; on the contrary serum anti-tubulin antibodies were not useful for differential purposes in MS. The antibodies to the neuron-specific portion of tubulin seemed to be synthesised predominantly intrathecally.