Objective: To investigate the morphological features of chronic inflammatory demyelinating polyneuropathy (CIDP) with autoantibodies directed against paranodal junctional molecules, particularly focusing on the fine structures of the paranodes.
Methods: We assessed sural nerve biopsy specimens obtained from 9 patients with CIDP with anti-neurofascin-155 antibodies and 1 patient with anti-contactin-1 antibodies. 13 patients with CIDP without these antibodies were also examined to compare pathological findings.
Results: Characteristic light and electron microscopy findings in transverse sections from patients with anti-neurofascin-155 and anti-contactin-1 antibodies indicated a slight reduction in myelinated fibre density, with scattered myelin ovoids, and the absence of macrophage-mediated demyelination or onion bulbs. Teased-fibre preparations revealed that segmental demyelination tended to be found in patients with relatively higher frequencies of axonal degeneration and was tandemly found at consecutive nodes of Ranvier in a single fibre. Assessment of longitudinal sections by electron microscopy revealed that detachment of terminal myelin loops from the axolemma was frequently found at the paranode in patients with anti-neurofascin-155 and anti-contactin-1 antibody-positive CIDP compared with patients with antibody-negative CIDP. Patients with anti-neurofascin-155 antibodies showed a positive correlation between the frequencies of axo-glial detachment at the paranode and axonal degeneration, as assessed by teased-fibre preparations (p<0.05).
Conclusions: Paranodal dissection without classical macrophage-mediated demyelination is the characteristic feature of patients with CIDP with autoantibodies to paranodal axo-glial junctional molecules.
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