TS-HDS and FGFR3 antibodies in small fiber neuropathy and Dysautonomia

Muscle Nerve. 2021 Jul;64(1):70-76. doi: 10.1002/mus.27245. Epub 2021 Apr 15.


Introduction: The specificity of trisulfated heparin disaccharide/fibroblast growth factor receptor 3 (TS-HDS/FGFR3) antibodies in the diagnosis of autoimmune small fiber neuropathy (SFN) is unclear.

Methods: This was a retrospective study of patients evaluated for SFN and dysautonomia in the Brigham and Women's Faulkner Hospital Autonomic Laboratory in 2019-2020. Associations were assessed between TS-HDS/FGFR3 antibodies and SFN markers, including epidermal nerve fiber density (ENFD), sweat gland nerve fiber density (SGNFD), and autonomic dysfunction assessed by Valsalva maneuver, deep breathing, sudomotor, and tilt testing.

Results: Of 322 patients; 28% had elevated anti-TS-HDS, 17% had elevated anti-FGFR3, 96% had autonomic dysfunction, 71% had abnormal ENFD, and 49% had abnormal SGNFD. TS-HDS/FGFR3 antibodies were present in patients with autonomic dysfunction irrespective of whether they had normal or abnormal skin biopsies unless ENFD/SGNFD were combined for anti-FGFR3 seropositivity.

Discussion: TS-HDS/FGFR3 antibodies are present in patients with evidence of autonomic dysfunction. Further studies are needed to document the clinical value of these antibodies in assessment of immune mediated dysautonomia.

Trial registration: ClinicalTrials.gov NCT02415556.

Keywords: FGFR3; TS-HDS; autoimmune; dysautonomia; small fiber neuropathy.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Autoantibodies / blood*
  • Biomarkers / blood
  • Disaccharides / blood*
  • Female
  • Heparin / analogs & derivatives*
  • Heparin / blood
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Primary Dysautonomias / blood*
  • Primary Dysautonomias / diagnosis
  • Receptor, Fibroblast Growth Factor, Type 3 / blood*
  • Retrospective Studies
  • Small Fiber Neuropathy / blood*
  • Small Fiber Neuropathy / diagnosis


  • Autoantibodies
  • Biomarkers
  • Disaccharides
  • heparin disaccharide
  • Heparin
  • FGFR3 protein, human
  • Receptor, Fibroblast Growth Factor, Type 3

Associated data

  • ClinicalTrials.gov/NCT02415556