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Papers: 15 Jun 2024 - 21 Jun 2024

2024 Jun 13

Rev Neurosci


The role of antibodies in small fiber neuropathy: a review of currently available evidence.


Morelli L, Serra L, Ricciardiello F, Gligora I, Donadio V, Caprini M, Liguori R, Giannoccaro MP


Small fiber neuropathy (SFN) is a peripheral nerve condition affecting thin myelinated Aδ and unmyelinated C-fibers, characterized by severe neuropathic pain and other sensory and autonomic symptoms. A variety of medical disorders can cause SFN; however, more than 50% of cases are idiopathic (iSFN). Some investigations suggest an autoimmune etiology, backed by evidence of the efficacy of IVIG and plasma exchange. Several studies suggest that autoantibodies directed against nervous system antigens may play a role in the development of neuropathic pain. For instance, patients with CASPR2 and LGI1 antibodies often complain of pain, and and studies support their pathogenicity. Other antibodies have been associated with SFN, including those against TS-HDS, FGFR3, and Plexin-D1, and new potential targets have been proposed. Finally, a few studies reported the onset of SFN after COVID-19 infection and vaccination, investigating the presence of potential antibody targets. Despite these overall findings, the pathogenic role has been demonstrated only for some autoantibodies, and the association with specific clinical phenotypes or response to immunotherapy remains to be clarified. The purpose of this review is to summarise known autoantibody targets involved in neuropathic pain, putative attractive autoantibody targets in iSFN patients, their potential as biomarkers of response to immunotherapy and their role in the development of iSFN.