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Front Immunol. 2019 Mar 21;10:515. doi: 10.3389/fimmu.2019.00515. eCollection 2019.

Immune Cell Profiling of the Cerebrospinal Fluid Provides Pathogenetic Insights Into Inflammatory Neuropathies.

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Department of Neurology, Institute of Translational Neurology, University of Münster, Münster, Germany.
Institute of Medical Informatics, University of Münster, Münster, Germany.
Department of Psychiatry, University of Münster, Münster, Germany.


Objective: Utilize immune cell profiles in the cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) to advance the understanding and potentially support the diagnosis of inflammatory neuropathies. Methods: We analyzed CSF cell flow cytometry data of patients with definite Guillain-Barré syndrome (GBS, n = 26) and chronic inflammatory demyelinating polyneuropathy (CIDP, n = 32) based on established diagnostic criteria in comparison to controls with relapsing-remitting multiple sclerosis (RRMS, n = 49) and idiopathic intracranial hypertension (IIH, n = 63). Results: Flow cytometry revealed disease-specific changes of CSF cell composition with a significant increase of NKT cells and CD8+ T cells in CIDP, NK cells in GBS, and B cells and plasma cells in MS in comparison to IIH controls. Principal component analysis demonstrated distinct CSF immune cells pattern in inflammatory neuropathies vs. RRMS. Systematic receiver operator curve (ROC) analysis identified NKT cells as the best parameter to distinguish GBS from CIDP. Composite scores combing several of the CSF parameters differentiated inflammatory neuropathies from IIH and GBS from CIDP with high confidence. Applying a novel dimension reduction technique, we observed an intra-disease heterogeneity of inflammatory neuropathies. Conclusion: Inflammatory neuropathies display disease- and subtype-specific alterations of CSF cell composition. The increase of NKT cells and CD8+ T cells in CIDP and NK cells in GBS, suggests a central role of cytotoxic cell types in inflammatory neuropathies varying between acute and chronic subtypes. Composite scores constructed from multi-dimensional CSF parameters establish potential novel diagnostic tools. Intra-disease heterogeneity suggests distinct disease mechanisms in subgroups of inflammatory neuropathies.


Guillain-Barré syndrome; cerebrospinal fluid; chronic inflammatory demyelinating polyneuropathy; flow cytometry; immune cell profile; inflammatory neuropathies

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