Morphological progression of myelin abnormalities in IgM-monoclonal gammopathy of undetermined significance anti-myelin-associated glycoprotein neuropathy

J Neuropathol Exp Neurol. 2010 Nov;69(11):1143-57. doi: 10.1097/NEN.0b013e3181fa44af.


To characterize the morphological progression of neuropathy associated with immunoglobulin M-monoclonal gammopathy of undetermined significance with anti-myelin-associated glycoprotein antibody, we assessed histopathologic features of sural nerve specimens from 15 patients, emphasizing widely spaced myelin (WSM), demyelination, and tomaculous changes. The frequency of WSM correlated with that of demyelination and tomaculous appearance in teased-fiber preparations. In longitudinal sections at nodes of Ranvier and paranodal regions, the spaces between terminal myelin loops, particularly those adjacent to the node of Ranvier, were widened, indicating an early change before demyelination, and there was concomitant swelling of terminal myelin loops. Some conspicuously swollen terminal myelin loops were detached from the paranodal axolemma, thereby widening the nodes of Ranvier. Tomacula coexisted frequently with redundant myelin loops and WSM, particularly in the outermost layer of myelin sheaths, suggesting that loosening of the outer layers contributes to their formation. By immunofluorescence microscopy, immunoglobulin M and myelin-associated glycoprotein were colocalized in paranodal regions and Schmidt-Lanterman incisures. Confocal analysis revealed colocalization of immunoglobulin M and complement product C3d corresponding to the area of WSM. Thus, morphological changes in terminal myelin loops, formation of WSM at paranodes, and subsequent dissociation from paranodal axolemma (which may be associated with activation of the complement pathway) likely contribute to demyelination in this condition. Loosening of compact myelin seems to contribute to tomacula formation.

MeSH terms

  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Immunoglobulin M / metabolism*
  • Keratins / metabolism
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Myelin Sheath / pathology*
  • Myelin-Associated Glycoprotein / immunology*
  • Nerve Fibers, Myelinated / pathology
  • Paraproteinemias / immunology*
  • Paraproteinemias / pathology*
  • Statistics, Nonparametric
  • Sural Nerve / pathology


  • Immunoglobulin M
  • Myelin-Associated Glycoprotein
  • Keratins