Anti-GM2 IgM antibody-induced complement-mediated cytotoxicity in patients with dysimmune neuropathies

B. Cavanna, H. Jiang, S. Allaria, M. Carpo, G. Scarlato, E. Nobile-Orazio

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Anti-GM2 IgM antibodies have been reported in some patients with dysimmune neuropathy or lower motor neuron syndrome. To determine whether these antibodies can induce complement-dependent cytolysis we performed a cytotoxicity assay on neuroblastoma cells with sera from seven patients with demyelinating dysimmune neuropathies and high titers of anti-GM2 IgM. As controls we used sera from seven patients with other anti-neural reactivities, six with the same neuropathies but no anti-GM2 or other anti-neural reactivity and from eight normal subjects. Of the seven positive sera tested, six induced complement-mediated cytotoxicity, while none of the controls had any relevant effect on neuroblastoma cells. Preincubation of positive sera with purified GM2 removed cytotoxic activity. Affinity purified anti-GM2 IgM had the same cytotoxic effect of whole serum while serum or complement alone did not have any effect. In four anti-GM2-positive patients the percentage of cell lysis correlated with anti-GM2 titers and with IgM staining of neuroblastoma cells while in two the cytotoxic effect was higher than expected from antibody titers. Complement-mediated cell lysis induced by anti-GM2 IgM antibodies may be a possible mechanism of neural damage in patients with dysimmune neuropathy and high titers of anti-GM2 IgM antibodies.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)226-231
Number of pages6
JournalJournal of Neuroimmunology
Issue number1-2
Publication statusPublished - Mar 1 2001


  • Antibodies
  • Cell culture
  • Complement
  • Cytotoxicity
  • Gangliosides
  • GM
  • Neuropathy

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Immunology
  • Clinical Neurology
  • Immunology and Allergy
  • Neurology


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