CSF levels of myelin basic protein (MBP) and intrathecally produced CSF IgG (de novo IgG) were measured in 11 chronic progressive multiple sclerosis patients with a deteriorating course of the disease for at least 6 months preceding observation and a reference group of 17 neurological patients suffering from disc herniation. In the multiple sclerosis patients, CSF levels were determined just before and once in the period 3 to 10 weeks after the start of an immunosuppressive treatment with cyclophosphamide and prednisone. For multiple sclerosis patients the CSF MBP levels before treatment were significantly higher than for controls. The CSF MBP levels after the treatment were nearly all within the control range. The abnormal high concentration of intrathecally produced CSF IgG (de novo IgG) in multiple sclerosis patients was reduced after treatment. A correlation between CSF MBP and CSF de novo IgG in multiple sclerosis patients could not be demonstrated. If CSF MBP is an indicator of the (activity of) myelin breakdown in the brain, it can be concluded that an intensive immunosuppressive treatment in combination with prednisone has, at least, a short-term, beneficial effect on the amount of demyelinisation and possibly on the disease activity.
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