Chronic inflammatory demyelinating polyradiculoneuropathy and variants: where we are and where we should go

J Peripher Nerv Syst. 2014 Mar;19(1):2-13. doi: 10.1111/jns5.12053.


Chronic inflammatory demyelinating polyradiculoneuropathy (CIDP) is a chronic and often disabling sensory motor neuropathy postulated as caused by an immune attack against peripheral nerve myelin. In addition to a classic sensory–motor polyneuropathy, other phenotypes of CIDP have been described including the Lewis- Sumner syndrome, distal acquired demyelinating symmetric (DADS) neuropathy, pure motor CIDP, pure sensory CIDP including chronic immune sensory polyradiculopathy (CISP), and focal CIDP. These phenotypes are currently considered to be variants of CIDP, even if the possibility that they represent different demyelinating neuropathies cannot be fully excluded considering differences in their response to therapy. Several data support the role of the immune system in the pathogenesis of CIDP even if the precise targets and actors (antibodies and lymphocytes) of this immune response remain uncertain. Recent studies have shown that the therapeutic response may differ in patients with peculiar clinical presentations supporting the hypothesis that different pathogenetic mechanisms may underlie the heterogeneity of CIDP. The majority of patients with CIDP show improvement after immune therapies including corticosteroids, plasma exchange, and high-dose intravenous immunoglobulin (IVIg). It remains unclear why none of the other immune therapies that were reported to be variably effective in other immune disorders proved to be effective also in CIDP.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Humans
  • Immunotherapy / methods*
  • Polyradiculoneuropathy, Chronic Inflammatory Demyelinating / diagnosis*
  • Polyradiculoneuropathy, Chronic Inflammatory Demyelinating / immunology
  • Polyradiculoneuropathy, Chronic Inflammatory Demyelinating / therapy*