Anti-GM2 IgM antibodies: Clinical correlates and reactivity with a human neuroblastoma cell line

B. Cavanna, M. Carpo, R. Pedotti, E. Scarpini, N. Meucci, S. Allaria, G. Scarlato, E. Nobile-Orazio

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


Anti-GM2 IgM antibodies have been reported in some patients with dysimmune neuropathy or lower motor neuron syndrome, in whom they were often associated with a concomitant reactivity with GMI. To investigate the possible clinical and pathogenetic relevance of these antibodies we measured serum anti-GM2 IgM titers by ELISA in 224 patients with different neuropathies and motor neuron disease and examined their binding to SK-N-SH neuroblastoma cells by indirect immunofluorescence (IIF). High titers of anti-GM2 IgM antibodies were found in eight patients with dysimmune neuropathies including two with multifocal motor neuropathy (MMN), two with purely motor demyelinating neuropathy without conduction block (MN) and four with Guillain-Barre syndrome (GBS). In two MMN patients reactivity with GM2 was associated with anti-GM1 reactivity and in one MN patient with anti-GM1, -GD1a and -GD1b reactivity. All but one patient had a concomitant reactivity with GalNAc-GD1a. Serum IgM from all positive patients intensely stained by IIF the surface of SK-N-SH neuroblastoma cells. This reactivity was blocked by serum pre-incubation with GM2, was not observed with sera from patients without anti-GM2 antibodies including those with high anti-GM1 or other anti- glycolipid antibodies, and correlated with the presence of GM2 in the SK-N- SH neuroblastoma cells. These findings indicate that anti-GM2 antibodies, though infrequent, are strictly associated with dysimmune neuropathies and suggest that SK-N-SH neuroblastoma cells can be a suitable in vitro model to study the functional and biological effects of these antibodies.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)157-164
Number of pages8
JournalJournal of Neuroimmunology
Issue number1-2
Publication statusPublished - Feb 1 1999


  • Antibodies
  • Cell culture
  • Gangliosides
  • GM2
  • Guillain-Barre syndrome
  • Neuroblastoma
  • Neuropathy

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Immunology
  • Immunology and Allergy
  • Clinical Neurology
  • Neurology

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