Chronic motor neuropathies: Diagnosis, therapy, and pathogenesis

Andrew J. Kornberg, Alan Pestronk

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

75 Scopus citations


Pure motor neuropathy syndromes resemble amyotrophic lateral sclerosis variants with no upper motor neuron signs. Their identification is important, as, in contrast to amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, they are often immune mediated and treatable. Typically the immune‐mediated motor neuropathy syndromes are distal and asymmetrical and progress slowly. The clinical features may help alert the clinician to the diagnosis, but other ancillary evidence such as abnormalities on electrophysiological testing and the presence of serum autoantibodies to neural antigens are helpful in making the diagnosis more secure. Electrophysiological abnormalities include not only motor conduction block but also other evidence of a demyelinative process such as prolonged distal latencies or F‐wave abnormalities. High‐titer anti‐GM1 antibodies occur frequently but more specific patterns of reactivity may be especially helpful. Treatment of these motor neuropathy syndromes includes cyclophosphamide, which we use in combination with plasma exchange, and in some patients, human immune globulin. Clinical responses to therapy may occur within the first 2 to 4 months in patients with motor neuropathy syndromes with demyelinative features, but only become obvious 6 months or later after starting treatment in patients with predominantly axonal disorders.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)43-50
Number of pages8
JournalAnnals of neurology
Issue number1 S
StatePublished - May 1995

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