Department of Nephrology, University Medical Centre Mainz of the Johannes Gutenberg University Mainz, Mainz, Germany. Department of Neurology, University Medical Centre Mainz of the Johannes Gutenberg University Mainz, Mainz, Germany.
BACKGROUND Therapeutic plasma exchange (TPE) and immunoadsorption (IA) are first or second line treatment options in patients with neurological autoimmune diseases, including multiple sclerosis, neuromyelitis optica spectrum disorders (NMSOD), chronic inflammatory demyelinating polyneuropathy, acute inflammatory demyelinating polyradiculoneuropathy (Guillain-Barré syndrome), and autoimmune encephalitis. METHODS In this prospective randomized controlled monocentric study, we assessed safety and efficacy of therapy with IA or
TPE in patients with neurological autoimmune diseases. Treatment response was assessed using various neurological scores as well by measuring immunoglobulin and cytokine concentrations. Clinical outcome was evaluated by application of specific scores for the underlying diseases. RESULTS A total of 32 patients were analyzed. Among these, 19 patients were treated with TPE and 13 patients with IA. IA and TPE therapy showed a comparable significant treatment response. In patients with MS and NMOSD, mean EDSS before and after treatment showed a significant reduction after treatment with IA. We observed a significant reduction of the pro-inflammatory cytokines IL-12, lL-17, IL-6, INF-γ, and tumor necrosis factor alpha during IA treatment, whereas this reduction was not seen in patients treated with TPE. CONCLUSIONS In summary, both IA and TPE were effective and safe procedures for treating neurological autoimmune diseases. However, there was a trend towards longer therapy response in patients treated with IA compared to TPE, possibly related to a reduction in plasma levels of pro-inflammatory cytokines seen only in the IA-treated group.