Autoimmune autonomic ganglionopathy: a possible postganglionic neuropathy

Arch Neurol. 2011 Apr;68(4):504-7. doi: 10.1001/archneurol.2011.60.


Objective: To evaluate postganglionic autonomic and somatic nerve fiber involvement in a patient with chronic autoimmune autonomic ganglionopathy.

Design: Case report.

Setting: Department of Neurological Sciences, University Federico II of Naples.

Patient: A patient with a 16-year history of severe autonomic failure and a high nicotinic acetylcholine receptor antibody titer underwent an extensive laboratory evaluation.

Main outcome measures: Evaluation of sympathetic and parasympathetic functions and sural nerve and skin biopsies.

Results: Clinical and laboratory evaluations showed the involvement of cardiovascular, pupillary, sudomotor, gastrointestinal, and bladder functions. Sudomotor function study and skin biopsy findings revealed postganglionic autonomic damage. Moreover, sural nerve and skin biopsy specimens provided clear evidence of somatic nerve fiber involvement.

Conclusions: We demonstrated postganglionic autonomic damage that could be related to a prolonged and severe impaired synaptic transmission and we report, for the first time to our knowledge, a somatic nerve fiber involvement in autoimmune autonomic ganglionopathy.

Publication types

  • Case Reports

MeSH terms

  • Autoimmune Diseases / diagnosis*
  • Autoimmune Diseases / immunology
  • Ganglia, Autonomic / pathology*
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Polyneuropathies / diagnosis*
  • Polyneuropathies / immunology
  • Sympathetic Fibers, Postganglionic / pathology*