Experimental autoimmune neuropathy with anti-GM1 antibodies and immunoglobulin deposits at the nodes of Ranvier
Antibodies to GM1 or Gal(beta 1-3)GalNAc are associated with motor or sensorimotor neuropathy and with motor neuron disease. To investigate the role of these antibodies in the neurological disorder, rabbits were immunized with GM1 or with Gal(beta 1-3)GalNAc-BSA, and studied serologically, electrophysiologically and pathologically. Development of antibodies to the immunizing antigens was associated with a fall in the ratio of the amplitudes of the compound muscle action potential evoked by proximal versus distal stimulation of the sciatic nerve. Pathological studies revealed mild axonal degeneration and immunoglobulin deposits at the nodes of Ranvier in peripheral nerve, resembling those reported in a patient with motor neuropathy, motor conduction block and anti-GM1 antibodies. These studies provide evidence that anti-GM1 or anti-Gal(beta 1-3)GalNAc antibodies cause conduction abnormalities and indicate that the antibodies may exert their effect, in part, by binding at the nodes of Ranvier in peripheral nerve.