Molecular mimicry in Guillain-Barré syndrome

K. A. Sheikh, T. W. Ho, I. Nachamkin, C. Y. Li, D. R. Cornblath, A. K. Asbury, J. W. Griffin, G. M. Mckhann

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

38 Scopus citations


Guillain-Barré syndrome (GBS) is the commonest cause of acute flaccid paralysis worldwide. Recent pathological and electrodiagnostic studies indicate that there are different patterns within this syndrome. The demyelinating pattern predominates in North America and Europe, whereas axonal variants of GBS occur more frequently in Northern China. Infection with Campylobacter jejuni is one of the most frequently recognized antecedent events in all variants of GBS. The lipopolysaccharides of these organisms share ganglioside-like epitopes with peripheral nerves, and patients with GBS have antiganglioside antibodies. These observations have given rise to the hypothesis that "molecular mimicry" is the immunopathogenic mechanism of injury to peripheral nerve fibers. With this hypothesis in view, we summarize our experience of GBS as it occurs in Northern China. To explore the role of molecular mimicry in this cohort we sought evidence of preceding Campylobacter infection and correlated this with clinical characteristics and antiganglioside serology. Based on our results we propose a sequence of pathogenic events leading to peripheral nerve injury in GBS.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)307-321
Number of pages15
JournalAnnals of the New York Academy of Sciences
StatePublished - 1998

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Neuroscience(all)
  • Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology(all)
  • History and Philosophy of Science


Dive into the research topics of 'Molecular mimicry in Guillain-Barré syndrome'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this