I am a
Home I AM A Search Login

Papers of the Week

Papers: 25 Nov 2023 - 1 Dec 2023

2023 Nov 27



Catalytic Antibodies May Contribute to Demyelination in Myalgic Encephalomyelitis/Chronic Fatigue Syndrome.


Jensen MA, Dafoe ML, Wilhelmy J, Cervantes L, Okumu AN, Kipp L, Nemat-Gorgani M, Davis RW


Here we report preliminary data demonstrating that some patients with myalgic encephalomyelitis/chronic fatiguesyndrome (ME/CFS) may have catalytic autoantibodies that cause the breakdown of myelin basic protein (MBP). We propose that these MBP-degradative antibodies are important to the pathophysiology of ME/CFS, particularly in the occurrence of white matter disease/demyelination. This is supported by magnetic resonance imagining studies that show these findings in patients with ME/CFS and could explain symptoms of nerve pain and muscle weakness. In this work, we performed a series of experiments on patient plasma samples where we isolated and characterized substrate-specific antibodies that digest MBP. We also tested glatiramer acetate (copaxone), an FDA approved immunomodulator to treat multiple sclerosis, and found that it inhibits ME/CFS antibody digestion of MBP. Furthermore, we found that aprotinin, which is a specific serine protease inhibitor, specifically prevents breakdown of MBP while the other classes of protease inhibitors had no effect. This coincides with the published literature describing catalytic antibodies as having serine protease-like activity. Postpandemic research has also provided several reports of demyelination in COVID-19. Because COVID-19 has been described as a trigger for ME/CFS, demyelination could play a bigger role in patient symptoms for those recently diagnosed with ME/CFS. Therefore, by studying proteolytic antibodies in ME/CFS, their target substrates, and inhibitors, a new mechanism of action could lead to better treatment and a possible cure for the disease.