Peripheral nerve diseases are traditionally classified as demyelinating or axonal. It has been recently proposed that microstructural changes restricted to the nodal/paranodal region may be the key to understanding the pathophysiology of antiganglioside antibody mediated neuropathies. We reviewed neuropathies with different aetiologies (dysimmune, inflammatory, ischaemic, nutritional, toxic) in which evidence from nerve conductions, excitability studies, pathology and animal models, indicate the involvement of the nodal region in the pathogenesis. For these neuropathies, the classification in demyelinating and axonal is inadequate or even misleading, we therefore propose a new category of nodopathy that has the following features: (1) it is characterised by a pathophysiological continuum from transitory nerve conduction block to axonal degeneration; (2) the conduction block may be due to paranodal myelin detachment, node lengthening, dysfunction or disruption of Na+ channels, altered homeostasis of water and ions, or abnormal polarisation of the axolemma; (3) the conduction block may be promptly reversible without development of excessive temporal dispersion; (4) axonal degeneration, depending on the specific disorder and its severity, eventually follows the conduction block. The term nodopathy focuses to the site of primary nerve injury, avoids confusion with segmental demyelinating neuropathies and circumvents the apparent paradox that something axonal may be reversible and have a good prognosis.
- GUILLAIN-BARRE SYNDROME
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