Changes in axonal and clinical function during intravenous and subcutaneous immunoglobulin therapy in chronic inflammatory demyelinating polyneuropathy

Peter N. Hansen, Abdullahi A. Mohammed, Lars K. Markvardsen, Henning Andersen, Hatice Tankisi, Søren H. Sindrup, Thomas Krøigård*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journal/Conference contribution in journal/Contribution to newspaperJournal articleResearchpeer-review


Background and Aims: Intravenous immunoglobulin (IVIg) has a rapid clinical effect which cannot be explained by remyelination during each treatment cycle in patients with chronic inflammatory demyelinating polyneuropathy (CIDP). This study aimed to investigate axonal membrane properties during the IVIg treatment cycle and their potential correlation with clinically relevant functional measurements. Methods: Motor nerve excitability testing (NET) of the median nerve was performed before and 4 and 18 days after initiation of an IVIg treatment cycle in 13 treatment-naïve (early) CIDP patients and 24 CIDP patients with long term (late) IVIg treatment, 12 CIDP patients treated with subcutaneous immunoglobulin (SCIg) and 55 healthy controls. Clinical function was measured extensively using the Six Spot Step test, 10-Meter Walk test, 9-Hole Peg test, grip strength, MRC sum score, Overall Neuropathy Limitations Score and Patient Global Impression of Change. Results: Superexcitability and S2 accommodation decreased significantly in the early treatment group from baseline to day 4 and returned to baseline levels at day 18, suggesting temporary depolarization of the axonal membrane. A similar trend was observed for the late IVIg group. Substantial clinical improvement was observed in both early and late IVIg groups during the entire treatment cycle. No statistically significant correlation was found between clinical and NET changes. No change was found in NET or clinical function in the SCIg group or controls. Interpretation: NET suggested temporary depolarization of the axonal membrane during IVIg treatment in treatment naïve CIDP patients. The relation to clinical improvement, however, remains speculative.

Original languageEnglish
JournalJournal of the Peripheral Nervous System
Pages (from-to)425-435
Number of pages11
Publication statusPublished - Sept 2023


  • axonal function
  • chronic inflammatory demyelinating polyneuropathy
  • immunoglobulin treatment
  • nerve excitability testing


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