Anti-ganglioside antibodies and clinical outcome of patients with Guillain-Barré Syndrome in northeast Brazil

Acta Neurol Scand. 2003 Aug;108(2):102-8. doi: 10.1034/j.1600-0404.2003.00103.x.


Objectives: The goal of this study was to investigate the frequency of GM1 antibodies and to assess whether exposure to Campylobacter jejuni was associated with a distinct clinical variant of Guillain-Barré Syndrome (GBS) or disease outcome in Rio Grande do Norte, Brazil.

Material and methods: Forty-one patients with a presumed diagnosis of GBS were enrolled and prospectively studied between June 1994 and November 1999.

Results: Anti-GM1 was present in 51.2% (n = 21) of patients. The presence of anti-GM1 was significantly associated with acute axonal motor neuropathy when compared to acute inflammatory demyelinating polyneuropathy (P = 0.01). Patients with anti-GM1 antibodies presented distal muscle involvement and fewer sensory deficits. Age, time to nadir and ventilatory assistance were not associated with anti-GM1 antibodies. Eight out of 21 patients (32%) presented with anti-C. jejuni antibodies. Clinical features were similar for patients with GBS with positive and negative C. jejuni antibodies. Anti-GM1 antibodies were associated with C. jejuni infection (P = 0.0005). Presence of anti-GM1 and C. jejuni antibodies did not indicate a worse prognosis.

Conclusion: Patients with GBS and anti-GM1 antibodies had more distal muscle weakness, fewer sensory deficits, more axonal degeneration and C. jejuni infection, but these findings were not associated with a worse prognosis.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Age Factors
  • Antibodies / blood*
  • Biomarkers / blood
  • Brazil / epidemiology
  • Campylobacter Infections / complications*
  • Campylobacter Infections / microbiology
  • Campylobacter jejuni*
  • Enzyme-Linked Immunosorbent Assay
  • Gangliosides / immunology*
  • Guillain-Barre Syndrome / epidemiology
  • Guillain-Barre Syndrome / immunology*
  • Guillain-Barre Syndrome / microbiology
  • Humans
  • Prognosis
  • Prospective Studies
  • Respiration, Artificial


  • Antibodies
  • Biomarkers
  • Gangliosides