Gerd Meyer zu Hörste, MD

Immunoglobulins in a new animal model of CIDP – the spontaneous chronic autoimmune neuritis in ICAM-1 deficient NOD mice 

Chronic inflammatory demyelinating polyradiculoneuropathy (CIDP) is an peripheral neuropathy often causing severe impairments. For unknown reasons available treatment options – glucocorticoids, intravenous immunoglobulins (IVIg) and plasma exchange – offer benefit only in a limited proportion of patients and which factors determine the individual therapeutic response. Animal models may help to experimentally address this issue.

We have previously demonstrated that autoimmune prone non-obese diabetic (NOD) mice deficient in intercellular adhesion molecule (ICAM)-1 do not develop autoimmune diabetes, but instead spontaneously develop a chronic, inflammatory polyneuropathy, resembling aspects of human CIDP.

In the intended project we will first test if IVIg treatment ameliorates neuritis in ICAM-1-/-NOD mice. We secondly plan to identify prognostic markers of clinical severity and therapeutic response to IVIg in ICAM-1 deficient NOD mice. We will take blood and skin samples from mildly affected animals at the onset of neuritis. We will perform IVIg treatment and retrospectively identify IVIg responders and non-responders. Using the prospectively stored samples we will analyze which differential early gene expression predicts subsequent treatment responses.

This may help to address why certain patients with chronic inflammatory neuropathies develop severe disability and respond poorly to available treatments. Our study may thus enable a bench-to-bedside transfer in the future.

Curriculum vitae of Gerd Meyer zu Hörste

Dr. Meyer zu Hörste is a clinician scientist and consultant neurologist at the Department of Neurology at the Heinrich-Heine-University Düsseldorf, Germany.

He received his undergraduate training at the Georg-August-University, Göttingen, Germany. Beginning in 2000 and in parallel to his undergraduate training he worked at the Department of Neurogenetics at the Max-Plack-Institute of Experimental Medicine in Göttingen under the supervision of Prof. Klaus-Armin Nave. Here, Dr. Meyer zu Hörste focused his research on establishing new experimental therapeutic approaches in an animal model of the most common inherited neuropathy, Charcot-Marie-Tooth disease (CMT). Following a short post-doctoral period in Göttingen he evolved his interest and expertise in peripheral nervous system biology towards inflammatory neuropathies and continued his scientific work at the Department of Neurology at the Heinrich-Heine-University Düsseldorf, Germany. In close association with Prof. Hans-Peter Hartung and Prof. Bernd C. Kieseier he studies the role of Schwann cells as conditional antigen presenting cells and the role of regulatory T cells in inflammatory neuropathies. Further recent projects involve the characterization of novel animal models of chronic inflammatory neuropathies and the establishment of novel experimental therapies in such animal models with future bench-to-bedside potential.

His works in the field of peripheral neuropathies were published at significant international level among others in Nature Medicine and in Annals of Neurology and he has co-authored more than 30 publications in the field.