Natalizumab and progressive multifocal leukoencephalopathy: migrating towards safe adhesion molecule therapy in multiple sclerosis.

Natalizumab, a humanized monoclonal antibody against alpha4beta1 integrin, was shown in clinical trials to dramatically reduce the relapse rate, development of new magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) lesions and progression of disability in patients with relapsing multiple sclerosis. Following its expedited approval, sales of the drug were discontinued owing to the emergence of two cases of progressive multifocal leukoencephalopathy (PML), a rare but deadly viral infection of the central nervous system (CNS) associated with immunosuppression. Owing to the effect of natalizumab on central nervous system leukocyte recruitment, the emergence of PML has been attributed to diminished immunosurveillance. The lack of additional opportunistic or CNS infections among natalizumab-treated patients, however, suggests that alternate mechanisms may contribute to the infectious risk. This review examines how the inhibition of alpha4beta1-mediated adhesion might establish a unique milieu for the development of PML and how future approaches to selective adhesion molecule therapy in multiple sclerosis might avoid a similar fate.
AuthorsJeffrey L Bennett
JournalNeurological research (Neurol Res) Vol. 28 Issue 3 Pg. 291-8 (Apr 2006) ISSN: 0161-6412 [Print] England
PMID16687056 (Publication Type: Journal Article, Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural, Review)
Chemical References
  • Antibodies, Monoclonal
  • Antibodies, Monoclonal, Humanized
  • Cell Adhesion Molecules
  • Integrin alpha4beta1
  • Natalizumab
  • Antibodies, Monoclonal (therapeutic use)
  • Antibodies, Monoclonal, Humanized
  • Cell Adhesion Molecules (immunology, therapeutic use)
  • Humans
  • Integrin alpha4beta1 (immunology)
  • Leukoencephalopathy, Progressive Multifocal (drug therapy)
  • Models, Immunological
  • Multiple Sclerosis (drug therapy, immunology)
  • Natalizumab

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