Ganglioside mimicry and peripheral nerve disease

Muscle Nerve. 2007 Jun;35(6):691-711. doi: 10.1002/mus.20762.


Four criteria must be satisfied to conclude that a given microorganism causes Guillain-Barré (GBS) or Fisher (FS) syndrome associated with anti-ganglioside antibodies: (1) an epidemiological association between the infecting microbe and GBS or FS; (2) isolation in the acute progressive phase of illness of that microorganism from GBS or FS patients with associated anti-ganglioside IgG antibodies; (3) identification of a microbial ganglioside mimic; and (4) a GBS or FS with associated anti-ganglioside antibodies model produced by sensitization with the microbe itself or its component, as well as with ganglioside. Campylobacter jejuni is a definitive causative microorganism of acute motor axonal neuropathy and may cause FS and related conditions. Haemophilus influenzae and Mycoplasma pneumoniae are possible causative microorganisms of acute motor axonal neuropathy or FS. Acute and chronic inflammatory demyelinating polyneuropathies may be produced by mechanisms other than ganglioside mimicry.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Autoantibodies / immunology
  • Bacterial Infections / complications*
  • Bacterial Infections / immunology*
  • Bacterial Infections / physiopathology
  • Campylobacter Infections / complications
  • Campylobacter Infections / immunology
  • Campylobacter Infections / physiopathology
  • Gangliosides / immunology*
  • Guillain-Barre Syndrome / immunology*
  • Guillain-Barre Syndrome / physiopathology
  • Humans
  • Miller Fisher Syndrome / immunology
  • Molecular Mimicry / immunology*
  • Peripheral Nervous System Diseases / immunology*
  • Peripheral Nervous System Diseases / physiopathology


  • Autoantibodies
  • Gangliosides