Antiganglioside antibodies play a pathogenic role in the pathophysiology of Guillain-Barré syndrome (GBS) and Fisher syndrome (FS). Antiganglioside antibody-mediated nerve injury is likely to result from nerve damage through complement activation or dysfunction of molecules such as voltage-gated sodium and calcium channels. Clustered epitopes of complexes of two gangliosides in the cell membrane can be targeted by serum antibodies in GBS and FS and may regulate the accessibility and avidity of antiganglioside antibodies. The glycolipid environment or the specific distribution of target gangliosides in the peripheral nervous system may also influence the pathogenic effect of antiganglioside antibodies in GBS and FS. Structural and functional analyses of glycoepitopes of ganglioside complexes in membranes will provide new vistas on antibody-antigen interaction in GBS and shed light on microdomain function mediated by carbohydrate-carbohydrate interactions, which may lead to novel treatments for GBS and FS.
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