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Lancet. 1998 Aug 22;352(9128):635-41.

Guillain-Barré syndrome.

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  • 1Clinical Neurological Sciences, University of Western Ontario, London Health Sciences Centre, Canada. angelika.hahn@lhsc.on.ca

Abstract

Guillain-Barré syndrome (GBS) is viewed as a reactive, self-limited, autoimmune disease triggered by a preceding bacterial or viral infection. Campylobacter jejuni, a major cause of bacterial gastroenteritis worldwide, is the most frequent antecedent pathogen. It is likely that immune responses directed towards the infecting organisms are involved in the pathogenesis of GBS by cross-reaction with neural tissues. The infecting organism induces humoral and cellular immune responses that, because of the sharing of homologous epitopes (molecular mimicry), cross-react with ganglioside surface components of peripheral nerves. Immune reactions against target epitopes in Schwann-cell surface membrane or myelin result in acute inflammatory demyelinating neuropathy (85% of cases); reactions against epitopes contained in the axonal membrane cause the acute axonal forms of GBS (15% of cases). Care for such patients may be challenging, yet the prognosis overall is favourable. Optimal supportive care and anticipation and prevention of complications are the mainstay of therapy. Admission to the intensive-care unit is necessary in 33% of patients who require intubation and assisted ventilation. Immunomodulation with infusions of IgG or plasma exchange treatments foreshorten the disease course.

[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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