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Autoimmun Rev. 2012 Jan;11(3):191-5. doi: 10.1016/j.autrev.2011.05.011. Epub 2011 May 18.

Autoimmune diseases of the peripheral nervous system.

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Clinical and Experimental Neuroimmunology, Department of Neurology, Heinrich-Heine-University, Düsseldorf, Germany.


Autoimmune-mediated diseases targeting the peripheral nerve represent a group of disorders often associated with high clinical disability. At present, therapeutic options are limited. The application of innovative and cutting-edge technologies to the study of immune-mediated disorders of the peripheral nervous system (PNS) have generated a better understanding of underlying principles of the organization of the immune network present in the peripheral nerve and its dialogue with the systemic immune system. These insights may foster the development of specific and highly effective therapies for autoimmune diseases of the peripheral nerve. Of great interest in this context is the application of monoclonal antibodies, such as rituximab or alemtuzumab, which in small observational studies provided promising clinical results. But also other immunomodulatory or immunosuppressive drugs used in other indications currently find their way to PNS autoimmunity. Clearly, prospective controlled clinical trials are warranted before making firm conclusions on the feasibility of these innovative therapeutic approaches for treating immune-mediated disease of the peripheral nerve.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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