Associated autoimmune diseases in patients with multifocal motor neuropathy and their family members

J Neurol. 2012 Jun;259(6):1137-41. doi: 10.1007/s00415-011-6315-3. Epub 2011 Nov 23.


Multifocal motor neuropathy (MMN) is a rare immune-mediated disorder and is characterized by male predominance, the presence of serum anti-GM1 IgM antibodies in up to half of all patients, responsiveness to intravenous immunoglobulins (IVIg) and an increased frequency of HLA type HLA-DRB1*15. The aim of this study was to assess whether the frequency of autoimmune diseases (AID) is increased in patients with MMN and their first-degree family members, since this would indicate that MMN shares pathogenic mechanisms with other AID. We conducted a case-control study using questionnaires to evaluate the prevalence of AID in MMN and controls, and their first-degree relatives. Questionnaires from 81 MMN patients (417 first-degree relatives) and 438 controls (2,377 first-degree relatives) were analyzed. Overall prevalence of AID was higher in MMN patients (11%) than in controls (5%) (OR 2.4, 95% CI 1.1-5.5, p = 0.037). Type 1 diabetes, Hashimoto's thyroid disease, and celiac disease were significantly more prevalent in family members of patients than controls. The presence of an additional AID was not associated with age at MMN onset, disease duration, titer of serum anti-GM1 IgM antibodies or HLA type HLA-DRB1*15. The higher frequency of AID in patients with MMN indicates a common autoimmune diathesis.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Autoimmune Diseases / diagnosis
  • Autoimmune Diseases / epidemiology*
  • Autoimmune Diseases / genetics*
  • Case-Control Studies
  • Cross-Sectional Studies
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Polyneuropathies / diagnosis
  • Polyneuropathies / epidemiology*
  • Polyneuropathies / genetics*
  • Surveys and Questionnaires
  • Young Adult