New concepts of Guillain-Barré syndrome

A K Asbury
Journal of Child Neurology 2000, 15 (3): 183-91
Guillain-Barré syndrome is an acute autoimmune polyradiculoneuropathy with a clinical presentation of flaccid paralysis with areflexia, variable sensory disturbance, and elevated cerebrospinal fluid protein without pleocytosis. Although Guillain-Barré syndrome previously had been viewed as a unitary disorder with variations, it currently is viewed as a group of syndromes with several distinctive subtypes. These include the principal subtype prevalent in the Western world (acute inflammatory demyelinating polyradiculoneuropathy, and others, each with distinctive electrodiagnostic and pathologic features, including acute motor axonal neuropathy), acute motor-sensory axonal neuropathy, Miller Fisher syndrome, and perhaps others. The clinical and pathologic features of these Guillain-Barré syndrome subtypes are reviewed, and the role of antecedent infections, particularly Campylobacter jejuni gastroenteritis, and the role of antiganglioside antibody responses are reviewed with respect to pathogenesis. Treatment of Guillain-Barré syndrome includes both important supportive measures and immunotherapies, specifically high-dose intravenous immunoglobulin and plasma exchange.

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