Pan-Neurofascin autoimmune nodopathy - a life-threatening, but reversible neuropathy

Curr Opin Neurol. 2023 Oct 1;36(5):394-401. doi: 10.1097/WCO.0000000000001195. Epub 2023 Jul 28.

Abstract

Purpose of review: Autoimmune nodopathies are immune-mediated neuropathies associated with antibodies targeting the peripheral node of Ranvier. Recently, antibodies against all neurofascin-isoforms (pan-neurofascin) have been linked to a clinical phenotype distinct from previously described autoimmune nodopathies. Here, we aim at highlighting the molecular background and the red flags for diagnostic assessment and provide treatment and surveillance approaches for this new disease.

Recent findings: Neurofascin-isoforms are located at different compartments of the node of Ranvier: Neurofascin-186 at the axonal nodal gap, and Neurofascin-155 at the terminal Schwann cell loops at the paranode. Pan-neurofascin antibodies recognize a common epitope on both isoforms and can access the node of Ranvier directly. Depending on their subclass profile, antibodies can induce direct structural disorganization and complement activation. Affected patients present with acute and immobilizing sensorimotor neuropathy, with cranial nerve involvement and long-term respiratory insufficiency. Early antibody-depleting therapy is crucial to avoid axonal damage, and remission is possible despite extended disease and high mortality. The antibody titer and serum neurofilament light chain levels can serve as biomarkers for diagnosis and therapy monitoring.

Summary: Pan-neurofascin-associated autoimmune nodopathies has unique molecular and clinical features. Testing should be considered in severe and prolonged Guillain-Barré-like phenotype.

Publication types

  • Review
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Antibodies
  • Axons
  • Guillain-Barre Syndrome*
  • Humans
  • Peripheral Nervous System Diseases*
  • Phenotype

Substances

  • Antibodies