J Neurol Neurosurg Psychiatry 74:971-973 doi:10.1136/jnnp.74.7.971
  • Short report

Apolipoprotein E genotypes and clinical outcome in Guillain-Barré syndrome

  1. J Pritchard1,
  2. R A C Hughes1,
  3. J H Rees2,
  4. H J Willison3,
  5. J A R Nicoll4
  1. 1Department of Clinical Neurosciences, Guy’s, King’s and St Thomas’ School of Medicine, London SE1, UK
  2. 2The National Hospital for Neurology and Neurosurgery, Queen Square, London WC1
  3. 3Division of Clinical Neurosciences, University of Glasgow, Southern General Hospital, Glasgow, UK
  4. 4Division of Clinical Neurosciences, University of Southampton, Southampton General Hospital, Southampton, UK
  1. Correspondence to:
 Dr Jane Pritchard, Department of Clinical Neurosciences, Guy’s, King’s and St Thomas’ School of Medicine, Guy’s Hospital, Hodgkin Building, London SE1 1UL, UK;
  • Received 11 December 2002
  • Accepted 10 February 2003
  • Revised 7 February 2003


Background: Polymorphism of the gene encoding the cholesterol transport protein apolipoprotein E (APOE, gene; apoE, protein), known to be involved in axonal regeneration and remyelination, influences outcome after a variety of central nervous system disorders. Apolipoprotein E gene polymorphisms could affect recovery from Guillain-Barré syndrome.

Objective: To correlate APOE genotypes with residual disability and degree of improvement in Guillain-Barré syndrome, assessed one year after presentation

Methods: 91 patients with the syndrome were recruited from southeast England and their APOE genotypes were determined.

Results: There were no clear differences in APOE genotype or allele frequencies when comparing the 91 patients with controls, nor when comparing 81 patients with good outcome and 10 with poor outcome.

Conclusions: APOE genotype did not influence susceptibility to Guillain-Barré syndrome or recovery from it. This may be because our sample size of 91 was not sufficiently large to detect small differences in recovery associated with different APOE genotypes, or because cholesterol transportation is not a crucial rate limiting step in peripheral nerve regeneration.


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