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J Neurol. 2015 Mar;262(3):666-73. doi: 10.1007/s00415-014-7612-4. Epub 2015 Jan 1.

Association of IgM monoclonal gammopathy with progressive muscular atrophy and multifocal motor neuropathy: a case-control study.

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Department of Neurology and Neurosurgery, Brain Center Rudolph Magnus, University Medical Center Utrecht, Utrecht, The Netherlands.


Monoclonal gammopathy in patients with amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) and related disorders has been reported in small studies but the validity of the reported associations remains uncertain. Presence of monoclonal gammopathy may indicate specific pathogenic pathways and may facilitate the development of novel treatment strategies. The objective of this large case-control study was to determine the prevalence of monoclonal gammopathy in motor neuron diseases (MND) and multifocal motor neuropathy (MMN). Monoclonal gammopathy was determined by immunoelectrophoresis and immunofixation in serum from 445 patients with ALS, 158 patients with progressive muscular atrophy (PMA), 60 patients with primary lateral sclerosis (PLS), 88 patients with MMN and in 430 matched healthy controls. Anti-ganglioside antibody titers were determined in sera from patients with MMN and PMA, and in ALS and PLS patients with monoclonal gammopathy. Logistic regression analysis was used to investigate associations of monoclonal gammopathy with motor neuron diseases and clinical characteristics. Neither ALS nor PLS was associated with monoclonal gammopathy. IgM monoclonal gammopathy was more frequent in patients with PMA (8 %) (OR = 4.2; p = 0.001) and MMN (7 %) (OR = 5.8; p = 0.002) than in controls (2 %). High titers of anti-GM1 IgM antibodies were present in 43 % of MMN patients and 7 % of PMA patients. Patients with PMA and IgM monoclonal gammopathy or anti-GM1 antibodies had a higher age at onset, more often weakness of upper legs and more severe outcome than patients with MMN. PMA and MMN, but not ALS and PLS, are significantly associated with IgM monoclonal gammopathy and anti-GM1 antibodies. These results may indicate that a subset of patients presenting with PMA share pathogenic mechanisms with MMN.

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