Antecedent infections in Fisher syndrome: a common pathogenesis of molecular mimicry

M Koga, M Gilbert, J Li, S Koike, M Takahashi, K Furukawa, K Hirata, N Yuki
Neurology 2005 May 10, 64 (9): 1605-11

OBJECTIVE: To assess the production mechanism of anti-GQ1b autoantibody in Fisher syndrome (FS).

METHODS: The authors conducted a prospective case-control serologic study of five antecedent infections (Campylobacter jejuni, cytomegalovirus, Epstein-Barr virus, Mycoplasma pneumoniae, and Haemophilus influenzae) in 73 patients with FS and 73 sex- and age-matched hospital controls (HCs). Serologic evidence in FS patients of C. jejuni (21%) and H. influenzae (8%) infections was present significantly more often than in the HCs. None of the five pathogens examined was found in the 49 (67%) patients with FS. Anti-GQ1b IgG antibody was detected in most FS patients infected with C. jejuni or H. influenzae. Mass spectrometry analysis identified a C. jejuni strain (CF93-6) carrying a GT1a-like lipo-oligosaccharide (LOS) that had been isolated from an FS patient. Immunization of complex ganglioside-lacking knockout mice with the GT1a-like LOS generated IgG class monoclonal antibodies (mAbs) that reacted with GQ1b and GT1a. Thin-layer chromatography with immunostaining showed that anti-GQ1b mAb bound to the C. jejuni LOS (50% of the 20 FS-related strains) more commonly than in the Guillain-Barré syndrome (GBS)-related (7% of 70) or enteritis-related (20% of 65) strains. Anti-GM1 and anti-GD1a mAbs also reacted with the LOS from some FS-related strains (both 20%), but binding frequencies were higher in the GBS-related strains (74 and 57%). The GQ1b epitope was detected in 4 (40%) of the 10 FS-related H. influenzae strains but was absent in strains from patients with GBS (n = 4) and uncomplicated respiratory infections (n = 10).

CONCLUSIONS: C. jejuni and H. influenzae are related to Fisher syndrome (FS) development, and production of anti-GQ1b autoantibody is mediated by the GQ1b-mimicking lipo-oligosaccharides on those bacteria. The causative agents remain unclear in the majority of patients with FS.

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