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Trends Immunol. 2004 Feb;25(2):61-6.

The Guillain-Barré syndrome: a true case of molecular mimicry.

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  • 1Department of Medical Microbiology and Infectious Diseases, Erasmus MC, Dr. Molewaterplein 40, 3015 GD Rotterdam, The Netherlands.


Molecular mimicry between microbial antigens and host tissue forms an attractive hypothetical mechanism for the triggering of autoimmune disease by preceding infections. Recent crucial reviews state that molecular mimicry, as the causative mechanism, remains unproven for any human autoimmune disease. However, the peripheral neuropathy Guillain-Barré syndrome (GBS) is largely overseen in this debate. Based on recent evidence, we argue that GBS should be considered as an excellent paradigm and an attractive model for elucidation of both host and microbial aspects of molecular mimicry.

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