| Neuroimmunology  

Archeological neuroimmunology- pathogenic immune response from a case of more than 60 years ago characterized from archival brain tissue

A medical mystery solved after more than 60 years- analysis of archival brain tissue allows characterization of rare fatal disease

In 1958, a 51- year old male patient died from a rapidly progressing neurological disease acquired after numerous injections of lyophilized calf brain and placenta cells. These injections were administered in hope of curing his slowly progressing parkinson’s disease. The detailed neuropathological analysis (Jellinger and Seitelberger, 1958) revealed a pathological pattern fulfilling all criteria of Marburg’s type of acute MS. 
Archival paraffin embedded brain tissue from this patient containing chronic active inflammatory demyelinating lesions with abundant inflammatory infiltrates of B- lymphocytes and plasma cells was used to isolate total mRNA. Further analysis revealed the presence of one strongly expanded B- cell clone, producing an autoantibody against an epitope of myelin oligodendrocyte glycoprotein (MOG). The reconstructed antibody induced demyelination when injected into Lewis rats with T-cell EAE both systemically or intrathecally. The study confirms historical reports that in susceptible individuals an immunization with bovine brain tissue may accidentally induce autoimmunity, which, at least in this particular case, is retrospectively diagnosed as MOG antibody associated inflammatory disease (MOGAD).


Beltrán E, Paunovic M, Gebert D, Cesur E, Jeitler M, Höftberger R, Malotka J, Mader S, Kawakami N, Meinl E, Bradl M, Dornmair K, Lassmann H. Archeological neuroimmunology: resurrection of a pathogenic immune response from a historical case sheds light on human autoimmune encephalomyelitis and multiple sclerosis. Acta Neuropathol. 2020 Oct 29. doi: 10.1007/s00401-020-02239-2.  PMID: 33242149.  https://link.springer.com/article/10.1007/s00401-020-02239-2
Jellinger K, Seitelberger F (1958) Akute tödliche Entmarkungs-Encephalitis nach wiederholten Hirntrockenzellen-Injektionen [Acute fatal demyelinizing encephalitis after repeated injections of dry brain cells]. Klin Wochenschr 36:437–441. https://doi.org/10.1007/BF01478731