Induction of anti-GM1 ganglioside antibodies by Campylobacter jejuni lipopolysaccharides
A frequent association exists between acute motor neuropathy, antecedent Campylobacter jejuni (CJ) and anti-GM ganglioside antibodies. Despite the chemical and immunological similarity between CJ lipopolysaccharides (LPS) and GM1, the mechanism of induction of anti-GM1 antibodies is still unclear. We used CJ LPS to immunize rats, mice and immunodeficient mice lacking in NK, CD8+ or T-cell populations. None of these animals developed significant anti-GM1 titers. However, rats immunized with keyhole limpet hemocyanin which contains the cross-reactive sugar epitope Gal(beta1-3)GalNAc developed high titers of IgM anti-GM1 antibodies. This occurred only after these rats were given an intraperitoneal injection of CJ LPS. These results suggest that a glycoprotein antigenic stimulus can induce B-cells which are autoreactive to ganglioside but which remain anergic. A second stimulus with a cross-reactive LPS can then overcome the anergy to induce autoantibody production. A similar mechanism may explain the occurrence of GM1 antibodies in patients after CJ enteritis.