Motor nerve damage is associated with anti-ganglioside antibodies in diabetes

J Peripher Nerv Syst. 2004 Sep;9(3):138-43. doi: 10.1111/j.1085-9489.2004.09303.x.


Few reports exist on the association between the humoral immune response to glycolipids and neuropathic findings in diabetes. To address this issue, we assayed serum anti-GM1, GD1b, GD1a, and sulfatides IgG and IgM in a group of 85 non-selected diabetic patients, and correlated these antibodies to clinical and electrophysiological findings. Diabetic patients had higher mean titers of anti-GM1 (IgM), GD1b, GD1a, and sulfatide (IgG) antibodies when compared to healthy controls. Patients with a positive titer of anti-ganglioside antibodies had significant alterations of motor conduction parameters. The statistical significance increased when considering those patients with both anti-ganglioside reactivity and a high value for glycosylated hemoglobin. Production of antibodies to ganglioside may follow the exposure of hidden motor nerve epitopes in damaged motor nerves and contribute to the neuropathy.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study

MeSH terms

  • Action Potentials / physiology
  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Analysis of Variance
  • Antibodies / blood*
  • Antibodies / classification
  • Demography
  • Diabetes Complications*
  • Diabetes Mellitus / classification
  • Diabetes Mellitus / immunology*
  • Electromyography / methods
  • Female
  • Gangliosides / classification
  • Gangliosides / immunology*
  • Humans
  • Immunoglobulins / classification
  • Immunoglobulins / immunology
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Motor Neuron Disease / etiology*
  • Motor Neuron Disease / immunology*
  • Neural Conduction / physiology


  • Antibodies
  • Gangliosides
  • Immunoglobulins