MMN: from immunological cross-talk to conduction block

Oliver Harschnitz, Bas A Jongbloed, Hessel Franssen, Dirk C G Straver, W Ludo van der Pol, Leonard H van den Berg
Journal of Clinical Immunology 2014, 34 Suppl 1: S112-9
Multifocal motor neuropathy (MMN) is a rare inflammatory neuropathy characterized by progressive, asymmetric distal limb weakness and conduction block (CB). Clinically MMN is a pure motor neuropathy, which as such can mimic motor neuron disease. GM1-specific IgM antibodies are present in the serum of approximately half of all MMN patients, and are thought to play a key role in the immune pathophysiology. Intravenous immunoglobulin (IVIg) treatment has been shown to be effective in MMN in five randomized placebo-controlled trials. Despite long-term treatment with intravenous immunoglobulin (IVIg), which is efficient in the majority of patients, slowly progressive axonal degeneration and subsequent muscle weakness cannot be fully prevented. In this review, we will discuss the current understanding of the immune pathogenesis underlying MMN and how this may cause CB, available treatment strategies and future therapeutic targets.

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