The presence of Mycoplasma pneumoniae infection and GM1 ganglioside antibodies in Guillain-Barré syndrome
Introduction: Guillain-Barré syndrome (GBS) is an autoimmune disorder affecting the peripheral nervous system, usually triggered by an acute infection. GBS patients are known to have antecedent bacterial infections associated with auto-antibodies to various gangliosides. This investigation aimed to evaluate GBS patients for serological evidence of Mycoplasma pneumoniae infection and anti GM1 ganglioside antibodies.
Methodology: This cross-sectional study included 57 pediatric GBS patients, 42 neurological controls (i.e., non-GBS Acute Flaccid Paralysis cases) and 35 non-neurological controls. Enzyme linked immune sorbent assay (ELISA) was performed on the sera of the subjects to detect IgM and IgG antibodies against Mycoplasma (M.) pneumoniae and GM1 gangliosides.
Results: The results showed that 15.79% and 21.05% GBS patients were positive for IgG and IgM antibodies against M. pneumoniae as compared to 2.38% (P < 0.05) and 14.2% in non-GBS-AFP and 5.7% and 14.2% in non-neurological controls respectively. Additionally, 43.85% and 38.54% GBS patients were positive for IgG and IgM antibodies against GM1 gangliosides as compared to 38.09% and 28.57% in non-GBS-AFP and 14.2% and 2.84% in non-neurological controls respectively (P < 0.05).
Conclusions: Significant difference in levels of IgG antibodies against M. pneumoniae was observed between GBS patients and neurological controls, suggesting M. pneumoniae to be an important antecedent to GBS. Significant difference in levels of anti GM1 ganglioside antibodies (IgG & IgM) was seen between GBS patients and non-neurological controls, highlighting its possible role in the pathogenesis of GBS.
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