Autoimmunity and diabetic neuropathy

Clin Neurosci. 1997;4(6):371-3.


Autoimmunity has been implicated in the pathogenesis of diabetic neuropathy. A number of putative target antigens have been investigated in the attempt to find a relationship between the presence of autoantibodies and the presence of neuropathy. Attention has been given to antibodies against nerve growth factor, adrenal medulla, sympathetic and parasympathetic structures, glutamic acid decarboxylase and phospholipids. Data in the literature do not support a clear-cut difference in frequency of positivity or titres between patients with or without diabetic neuropathy. Moreover, it is not clear whether autoantibodies to the above-mentioned antigens, whenever present, play a role in causing nerve damage or if they simply reflect the presence of nerve damage. Longitudinal studies are needed to clarify some conflicting data in the literature.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Adrenal Medulla / immunology
  • Autoantibodies / immunology*
  • Autoimmunity*
  • Diabetic Neuropathies / immunology*
  • Glutamate Decarboxylase / immunology
  • Humans
  • Nerve Growth Factors / immunology
  • Parasympathetic Nervous System / immunology
  • Sympathetic Nervous System / immunology


  • Autoantibodies
  • Nerve Growth Factors
  • Glutamate Decarboxylase