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Ganglioside antibodies

Category Immunology
Test background

Gangliosides are glycophingolipids found enriched in cell membranes within the nervous system. They modulate membrane proteins and ion channels and are involved in cell signalling. Alterations in ganglioside metabolism has been linked to a number of neurodegenerative diseases (Alzheime’s disease, Parkinson’s disease, Huntingdon’s disease and multiple sclerosis).

Antibodies to gangliosides are seen in over half of patients with the post-infectious, inflammatory, peripheral neuropathy Guillain-Barré syndrome (GBS) and its variants AIDP (acute inflammatory demyelinating polyneuropathy), acute motor axonal neuropathy (AMAN), acute motor and sensory axonal neurpathy (AMSAN), Miller-Fisher syndrome and Bickerstaff brainstem encephalitis (BBE).

AIDP is the most common form of GBS and is associated with paranodal antibodies (neurofascin 155, contactin 1). AMAN and AMSAN are associated with antibodies to ganglioside GM1, GM1b and GD1a. Miller Fisher syndrome and BBE are both associated with GQ1b antibodies.

Clinical Indications

Suspected Guillain-Barré syndrome
Chronic demyelinating polyneuropathy
Multifocal motor neuropathy

Reference range


Sample & container required Serum (RST rust top)
Sample volume 5-10 mL blood (1 mL serum)
Turnaround time 28 days

Not currently performed in house; this test is performed by immunoblot at the Institute of Neurology, Queens Square.