Infectious mononucleosis triggers generation of IGG auto-antibodies against native myelin oligodendrocyte glycoprotein

Kristina Kakalacheva, Stephan Regenass, Silke Wiesmayr, Tarik Azzi, Christoph Berger, Russell C. Dale, Fabienne Brilot, Christian Münz, Kevin Rostasy, David Nadal, Jan D. Lünemann

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

21 Scopus citations


A history of infectious mononucleosis (IM), symptomatic primary infection with the Epstein Barr virus, is associated with the development of autoimmune diseases and increases the risk to develop multiple sclerosis. Here, we hypothesized that immune activation during IM triggers autoreactive immune responses. Antibody responses towards cellular antigens using a HEp-2 based indirect immunofluorescence assay and native myelin oligodendrocyte glycoprotein (MOG) using a flow cytometry-based assay were determined in 35 patients with IM and in 23 control subjects. We detected frequent immunoglobulin M (IgM) reactivity to vimentin, a major constituent of the intermediate filament family of proteins, in IM patients (27/35; 77%) but rarely in control subjects (2/23; 9%). IgG autoantibodies binding to HEp-2 cells were absent in both groups. In contrast, IgG responses to native MOG, present in up to 40% of children with inflammatory demyelinating diseases of the central nervous system (CNS), were detectable in 7/35 (20%) patients with IM but not in control subjects. Normalization of anti-vimentin IgM levels to increased total IgM concentrations during IM resulted in loss of significant differences for anti-vimentin IgM titers. Anti-MOG specific IgG responses were still detectable in a subset of three out of 35 patients with IM (9%), even after normalization to increased total IgG levels. Vimentin-specific IgM and MOG-specific IgG responses decreased following clinical resolution of acute IM symptoms. We conclude from our data that MOG-specific memory B cells are activated in subset of patients with IM.

Original languageEnglish
Article number51
Issue number2
StatePublished - 12 Feb 2016
Externally publishedYes


  • Autoantibody
  • Autoimmunity
  • Epstein barr virus
  • Infectious mononucleosis
  • Multiple sclerosis


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