A human anti-polysialic acid antibody as a potential treatment to improve function in multiple sclerosis patients

Jens O. Watzlawik, Meghan M. Painter, Bharath Wootla, Moses Rodriguez

Department of Neurology, Clinic College of Medicine, Rochester, Minnesota, USA. Mayo Graduate School, Clinic College of Medicine, Rochester, Minnesota, USA


We previously identified a human monoclonal antibody, termed HIgM12 that stimulates spontaneous locomotor activity in a chronically demyelinating mouse model of multiple sclerosis. When tested as a molecular substrate, HIgM12 stimulated neurite outgrowth in vitro. We recently reported that polysialic acid (PSA) attached to the neural cell adhesion molecule (NCAM) is one of the cellular antigens for HIgM12. Fluorescent double-labeling of astrocytes using HIgM12 and commercially available anti-PSA antibody showed dramatic co-localization. Neural tissue homogenates and primary CNS cultures from mice lacking the three major NCAM splice variants NCAM180, NCAM140 and NCAM120 (NCAM KO) were no longer able to bind HIgM12. Furthermore, enzymatic digestion of PSA on wild type (WT) glia abolished HIgM12-binding. Moreover, neurons and glia from NCAM KO animals did not attach to HIgM12-coated nitrocellulose in neurite outgrowth assays. We conclude that HIgM12 targets PSA attached to NCAM, and that the PSA moiety mediates neuronal and glial adhesion and subsequent neurite outgrowth in our in vitro assay. Therefore, this anti-PSA antibody may serve as a future therapeutic to stimulate functional improvement in multiple sclerosis patients and other neurodegenerative diseases. Journal of Nature and Science, 1(8):e141, 2015.



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