Secondary Logo

Institutional members access full text with Ovid®

Secondary antibody deficiency in neurology

Tallantyre, Emma C.a,b; Robertson, Neil P.a,b; Jolles, Stephena,b

Current Opinion in Allergy and Clinical Immunology: December 2018 - Volume 18 - Issue 6 - p 481–488
doi: 10.1097/ACI.0000000000000485
PRIMARY IMMUNE DEFICIENCY DISEASE: Edited by Stephen Jolles and M. Teresa (Maite) de la Morena

Purpose of review Induction of lymphocyte depletion is increasingly used as a therapeutic strategy for central and peripheral neuroinflammatory disease. However, there is also a growing recognition of the treatment-related complication of secondary antibody deficiency (SAD). Although the occurrence of hypogammaglobulinaemia is a recognized phenomenon during immunomodulation, robust data on the coexistence of impaired responses to immunization, and significant and/or atypical infections is scarce. Here we review the literature on SAD in anti-CD20 therapy.

Recent findings Several factors that may increase the incidence of SAD have now been identified, including low levels of immunoglobulins prior to the commencement of B-cell ablation therapy, duration of maintenance therapy, and concurrent or prior use of other immunosuppressing agents such as cyclophosphamide and steroids. Measurement of disease-specific antibodies and vaccine response are likely to be helpful adjuncts to measurement of serum immunoglobulin levels during B-cell depleting therapy. Supportive treatment may include amending the treatment schedule to limit cumulative dose.

Summary B-cell depleting agents offer considerable therapeutic benefit in neurology. We propose modifications in current practice that include risk stratification and early identification of SAD, with the aim of minimising morbidity and mortality related to this underappreciated condition.

aUniversity Hospital of Wales

bCardiff University School of Medicine, Cardiff, Wales, UK

Correspondence to Dr Emma C. Tallantyre, Department of Psychological Medicine and Clinical Neurosciences, B4-C4 Corridor, University Hospital of Wales, Cardiff, CF14 4XW, Wales, UK. Tel: +44 02920 745403; e-mail:

Copyright © 2018 Wolters Kluwer Health, Inc. All rights reserved.