Multifocal motor neuropathy: Clinical and immunological features and response to IVIg in relation to the presence and degree of motor conduction block

Eduardo Nobile-Orazio, A. Cappellari, N. Meucci, M. Carpo, F. Terenghi, A. Bersano, A. Priori, S. Barbieri, G. Scarlato

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Objective: To determine whether patients with clinically typical muhifocal motor neuropathy (MMN) with or without definite or probable conduction block (CB) differ in terms of clinical presentation, immunological findings, or response to treatment with intravenous immunoglobulin (IVIg). Methods: 23 consecutive patients were studied with the typical clinical features of MMN, consisting of a progressive multineuropathic motor impairment with minimal or no sensory loss. In 14 patients, electrophysiological studies disclosed the presence of a definite or probable CB according to the criteria proposed by the American Association of Electrodiagnostic Medicine (AAEM) in at least one motor nerve. Six patients had possible CB, defined as a degree of CB 10% less than that required by the AAEM for probable CB, while no CB was detected in three patients. Results: Patients with possible CB did not differ from those with a definite or probable CB in terms of age at disease onset (mean 38.8 v 38.2 years, respectively), distribution and severity of limb weakness, clinical impairment (mean Rankin score 2.2 in both), and frequency of antiganglioside antibodies (33% v 29%). Patients with possible CB had a longer mean disease duration (9 v 5.9 years, p <0.05) and a less frequent consistent response to IVIg (67% v 86%) than those with a definite or probable CB. Patients without a detectable CB had a similar frequency of antiganglioside antibodies (33%) but had a longer disease duration (20.3 years), greater impairment (Rankin score 2.7), and more frequent signs of axonal degeneration (41% of examined motor nerves) than patients with CB (13-15%, p <0.005). Only one patient without detectable CB (33%) consistently improved with IVIg. Conclusions: Patients with possible CB were clinically and immunologically indistinguishable from those with definite or probable CB, albeit with a slightly less frequent response to IVIg. This finding suggests that failure to fulfil AAEM criteria for CB in patients with otherwise clinically typical MMN should not preclude this diagnosis and consequently a treatment trial with IVIg. Whether the longer duration and greater severity of the disease and more frequent axonal impairment in patients without detectable CB than in those with CB explain their lower response to IVIg remains to be established.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)761-766
Number of pages6
JournalJournal of Neurology, Neurosurgery and Psychiatry
Issue number6
Publication statusPublished - 2002

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Neuropsychology and Physiological Psychology
  • Neuroscience(all)
  • Psychiatry and Mental health


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