More MS news articles for Oct 2001

Serum IFN neutralizing antibodies and neopterin levels in a cross-section of MS patients

Neurology 2001;57:1080-1084
© 2001 American Academy of Neurology

S. D. Cook, MD, J. R. Quinless, RN, A. Jotkowitz, RN, P. Beaton, PhD and the Neutralizing Antibody Study Group*
From the New Jersey Medical School (Dr. Cook, J.R. Quinless, and A. Jotkowitz) and the School of Nursing (Dr. Beaton), University of Medicine and Dentistry of New Jersey, Newark.

Address correspondence to Dr. Stuart D. Cook, University of Medicine and Dentistry of New Jersey, 65 Bergen Street, Room 1535, Newark, NJ 07107-3001; e-mail:


To determine levels of serum interferon beta (IFNß) neutralizing antibody (NAb) and neopterin—an IFN biologic response marker—in patients with MS treated with Betaseron or Avonex.


Controversy exists over the relative immunogenicity of IFNß-1a and IFNß-1b and the reasons for any such difference. To determine the role of patient profile and test methodology in IFNß, NAb levels need to be measured blindly and simultaneously in a predefined closely matched MS patient cohort.


Serum NAb and neopterin levels were measured in closely matched patients on Avonex (n = 98) or Betaseron (n = 64). NAb were determined by Athena Diagnostics and serum neopterin levels by Covance Laboratories using a competitive binding radioimmunoassay.


More patients taking Betaseron (22%) than Avonex (7%) had elevated titers of NAb (p = 0.008). Mean serum neopterin levels were lower in patients with high as compared to low NAb titers (p = 0.0002). No difference in mean neopterin levels was found comparing the total Betaseron group to the Avonex group; however, in the subset of patients with low NAb titers, mean neopterin levels were higher in the Betaseron than in the Avonex group (p = 0.027). A random cross-sectional sampling of patients on Avonex showed a decrease in neopterin levels over time between weekly doses.


NAb are more commonly found with Betaseron than Avonex. More studies are needed to determine the correlation among serum neopterin levels, other biologic response markers, NAb, and disease activity in patients with MS being treated with IFNß.

Copyright © 2001 by AAN Enterprises, Inc.