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Autonomic function in demyelinating and axonal subtypes of Guillain–Barré syndrome


Masato Asahina Department of Neurology, Chiba University School of Medicine, 1-8-1 Inohana, Chuo-ku, Chiba 260–8670, Japan Tel.: +81 43 2262129 Fax: +81 43 2262160 e-mail:


Objectives– To investigate whether or not the pattern and extent of autonomic involvement differ between the two subtypes of Guillain–Barré syndrome (GBS), namely acute inflammatory demyelinating polyneuropathy (AIDP) and acute motor axonal neuropathy (AMAN). Methods – Head-up tilt test, R–R interval variation, plasma noradrenaline concentration, skin vasomotor reflex (SVR) and sympathetic sweat response (SSwR) were used to estimate autonomic function in seven AIDP and eight AMAN patients. Results – Heart rate and plasma noradrenaline concentration were significantly high in the AIDP group but not in the AMAN group. Skin vasomotor reflexes were generally preserved and SSwRs were impaired in patients with severe neurological deficits for both AIDP and AMAN groups. Conclusion – The patterns of autonomic involvement are qualitatively different between AIDP and AMAN. Acute inflammatory demyelinating polyneuropathy is characterized by cardio-sympathetic hyperactivity, excessive or reduced sudomotor function and preserved skin vasomotor function, while AMAN is not necessarily generally associated with marked autonomic dysfunction except for the sudomotor hypofunction seen in patients with severe neurological deficits.