UMMS Affiliation

Department of Neurology; Clinical Trials Unit

Publication Date


Document Type



Multiple System Atrophy; Immunoglobulins, Intravenous


Nervous System Diseases | Neurology


BACKGROUND: Multiple system atrophy (MSA) is a progressive neurodegenerative disorder of unknown etiology, manifesting as combination of parkinsonism, cerebellar syndrome and dysautonomia. Disease-modifying therapies are unavailable. Activation of microglia and production of toxic cytokines suggest a role of neuroinflammation in MSA pathogenesis. This pilot clinical trial evaluated safety and tolerability of intravenous immunoglobulin (IVIG) in MSA.

METHODS: This was a single-arm interventional, single-center, open-label pilot study. Interventions included monthly infusions of the IVIG preparation Privigen(R), dose 0.4 gram/kg, for 6 months. Primary outcome measures evaluated safety and secondary outcome measures evaluated preliminary efficacy of IVIG. Unified MSA Rating Scale (UMSARS) was measured monthly. Quantitative brain imaging using 3T MRI was performed before and after treatment.

RESULTS: Nine subjects were enrolled, and seven (2 women and 5 men, age range 55-64 years) completed the protocol. There were no serious adverse events. Systolic blood pressure increased during IVIG infusions (p<0.05). Two participants dropped out from the study because of a non-threatening skin rash. The UMSARS-I (activities of daily living) and USMARS-II (motor functions) improved significantly post-treatment. UMSARS-I improved in all subjects (pre-treatment 23.9 ± 6.0 vs. post-treatment 19.0±5.9 (p=0.01). UMSARS-II improved in 5 subjects, was unchanged in 1 and worsened in 1 (pre-treatment 26.1±7.5 vs. post-treatment 23.3±7.3 (p=0.025). The MR imaging results were not different comparing pre- to post-treatment.

CONCLUSIONS: Treatment with IVIG appears to be safe, feasible and well tolerated and may improve functionality in MSA. A larger, placebo-controlled study is needed.

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© 2012 Novak et al.; licensee BioMed Central Ltd. This is an Open Access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License (, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.

DOI of Published Version



BMC Neurol. 2012 Nov 1;12:131. doi: 10.1186/1471-2377-12-131. Link to article on publisher's site

Journal/Book/Conference Title

BMC neurology

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