Specificity of human anti-neurofilament autoantibodies
The specificities and isotypes of human antibodies that react with neurofilament (NF) proteins were examined by Western blot analysis. Two-thirds of the subjects tested had antibodies to the 200 kDa high molecular weight neurofilament protein (NF-H), and fewer had antibodies to the low and middle molecular weight neurofilament proteins (NF-L and NF-M respectively). Human autoantibodies bound to both native and dephosphorylated NF-H, but some antibodies bound to dephosphorylated NF-H only, indicating the presence of at least two target epitopes. They also recognized a fusion protein containing a segment of the NF-H protein produced by a cDNA clone in Escherichia coli, indicating that they bind to unmodified peptide epitopes. The anti-NF-H antibodies were mostly IgG, but were frequently complexed to IgA or IgM antibodies, possibly with rheumatoid factor or anti-idiotypic activity. These characteristics of anti-NF-H antibodies are most consistent with a secondary immune response that is antigen driven and T-cell dependent.