This study was undertaken to determine whether anti-GM1 titres are raised in polyneuropathies of unknown origin and whether determination of these titres is useful for diagnosing these conditions. The study population comprised 20 controls (aged 36-88 years), 12 patients with polyneuropathies of known origin (aged 31-81 years) and 15 patients with polyneuropathies of unknown origin (aged 40-77 years). Antibody levels were measured using a commercial GM1 enzyme linked immunosorbent assay kit (Buehlmann Laboratories). Mean anti-GM1 IgG and IgM antibody titres were not raised in patients with polyneuropathies of unknown origin. Anti-GM1 IgG antibody titres were raised in one and GM1 IgM antibody titres in none of the patients with polyneuropathies of unknown origin. In conclusion, GM1 antibody levels are rarely raised in polyneuropathies of unknown origin and probably play a minor role in the pathogenesis of these conditions.
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