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Research paper
Different electrophysiological profiles and treatment response in ‘typical’ and ‘atypical’ chronic inflammatory demyelinating polyneuropathy
  1. Satoshi Kuwabara,
  2. Sagiri Isose,
  3. Masahiro Mori,
  4. Satsuki Mitsuma,
  5. Setsu Sawai,
  6. Minako Beppu,
  7. Yukari Sekiguchi,
  8. Sonoko Misawa
  1. Department of Neurology, Graduate School of Medicine, Chiba University, Chiba, Japan
  1. Correspondence to Dr Satoshi Kuwabara, Department of Neurology, Graduate School of Medicine, Chiba University, 1-8-1, Inohana, Chuo-ku, Chiba 260-8670, Japan; kuwabara-s{at}


Background Chronic inflammatory demyelinating polyneuropathy (CIDP) is currently classified into ‘typical’ CIDP and ‘atypical’ subtypes such as multifocal acquired demyelinating sensory and motor neuropathy (MADSAM).

Objectives To assess the frequency of CIDP subtypes, and to elucidate clinical and electrophysiological features, and treatment response in each subtype.

Methods We reviewed data from 100 consecutive patients fulfilling criteria for CIDP proposed by the European Federation of Neurological Societies and the Peripheral Nerve Society. The Kaplan-Meier curve was used to estimate long-term outcome.

Results Patients were classified as having typical CIDP (60%), MADSAM (34%), demyelinating acquired distal symmetric neuropathy (8%) or pure sensory CIDP (1%). Compared with patients with MADSAM, patients with typical CIDP showed more rapid progression and severe disability, and demyelination predominant in the distal nerve segments. MADSAM was characterised by multifocal demyelination in the nerve trunks. Abnormal median-normal sural sensory responses were more frequently found for typical CIDP (53% vs 13%). Patients with typical CIDP invariably responded to corticosteroids, immunoglobulin or plasmapheresis, whereas patients with MADSAM were more refractory to these treatments. The Kaplan-Meier analyses showed that 64% of patients with typical CIDP and 41% of patients with MADSAM had a clinical remission 5 years later (p=0.02).

Conclusions Among the CIDP spectrum, typical CIDP and MADSAM are the major subtypes, and their pathophysiology appears to be distinct. In typical CIDP, the distal nerve terminals and possibly the nerve roots, where the blood–nerve barrier is anatomically deficient, are preferentially affected, raising the possibility of antibody-mediated demyelination, whereas cellular immunity with breakdown of the barrier may be important in MADSAM neuropathy.

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