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Neurology. 1997 Apr;48(4):1104-6.

Multifocal motor neuropathy: serum IgM binding to a GM1 ganglioside-containing lipid mixture but not to GM1 alone.

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  • 1Department of Neurology, Washington University School of Medicine, St. Louis, MO, USA.


IgM anti-GM1 antibodies are associated with motor neuropathy syndromes, including multifocal motor neuropathy (MMN). We compared the ability of serum IgM from patients with multifocal motor neuropathy to bind to GM1 ganglioside alone and to GM1 as a component of a lipid mixture that also contained galactocerebroside and cholesterol (GGC). Our results showed that high-titer selective serum IgM binding to GGC has strong specificity for MMN. Further, over 40% more serums from patients with MMN have high-titer serum IgM binding to GGC than to GM1 alone. The specific composition and structure of the lipid mixture altered the ability of serum IgM to bind to GM1 ganglioside. Substitutions of other lipids for galactocerebroside or cholesterol could completely inhibit the antibody binding. We conclude that serum IgM anti-GGC autoantibodies have specificity for MMN and their binding is strongly influenced by the lipid environment of GM1 ganglioside.

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