Autoimmune Autonomic Disorders

Continuum (Minneap Minn). 2020 Feb;26(1):44-57. doi: 10.1212/CON.0000000000000812.


Purpose of review: Autonomic disorders sometimes occur in the context of systemic autoimmune disease or as a direct consequence of autoimmunity against the nervous system. This article provides an overview of autonomic disorders with potential autoimmune etiology.

Recent findings: Recent evidence highlights a close association between the autonomic nervous system and inflammation. The autonomic nervous system regulates immune function, and autonomic manifestations may occur in a number of systemic autoimmune diseases. In a few instances, autoimmunity directly influences autonomic function. Autoimmune autonomic ganglionopathy is the prototypic antibody-mediated autonomic disorder. Over time, a better understanding of the clinical spectrum of autoimmune autonomic ganglionopathy, the significance of ganglionic nicotinic acetylcholine receptor antibodies, other immune-mediated autonomic neuropathies, and autonomic manifestations of other systemic or neurologic autoimmune disorders has emerged.

Summary: Autoimmune autonomic disorders may be challenging, but correct identification of these conditions is important. In some cases, potential exists for effective immunomodulatory treatment.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Autoimmune Diseases / complications
  • Autoimmune Diseases / physiopathology*
  • Autonomic Nervous System Diseases / complications
  • Autonomic Nervous System Diseases / immunology*
  • Humans