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Annu Rev Neurosci. 1998;21:187-226.

Human autoimmune neuropathies.

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Department of Neurology, Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine, Baltimore, Maryland 21287, USA.


Peripheral nerve diseases are among the most prevalent disorders of the nervous system. Because of the accessibility of the peripheral nervous system (PNS) to direct physiological and pathological study, neuropathies have traditionally played a unique role in developing our understanding of basic mechanism of nervous system injury and repair. At present they are providing new insight into the mechanisms of immune injury to the nervous system. A rapidly growing catalogue of PNS disorders are now suspected to be immune-mediated, and in the best understood of these disorders, the molecular and cellular targets of immune attack are known, and the pathophysiology follows directly from the specific immune injury. This review summarizes the immunologically relevant features of the PNS, then considers selected immune-mediated neuropathies, focusing on pathogenetic mechanisms. Finally, the PNS is providing a testing ground for new immunotherapies and approaches to protection and regeneration, including the use of trophic factors. The current status of treatment and implications for future approaches is reviewed.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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