Autoantibodies in patients with gut motility disorders and enteric neuropathy.
Törnblom H., Lang B., Clover L., Knowles CH., Vincent A., Lindberg G.
OBJECTIVE: Enteric neuropathy with mild inflammation (ganglionitis) has been described in several motility disorders including irritable bowel syndrome (IBS), enteric dysmotility (ED), slow-transit constipation (STC) and chronic intestinal pseudo-obstruction (CIPO). The purpose of this study was to test the hypothesis that autoantibodies directed against specific neural antigens including ion channels may be associated with this finding. MATERIAL AND METHODS: Comprehensive routine and immunohistochemical analyses of full-thickness jejunal laparoscopic biopsies were performed on patients fulfilling the international criteria for IBS, ED, STC and CIPO. Patients with ganglionitis had sera screened for specific antibodies to voltage-gated calcium channels (VGCCs) of P/Q- and N-type, voltage-gated potassium channels (VGKCs), glutamic acid decarboxylase (GAD) and neuronal alpha3-AChR by validated immunoprecipitation assays. RESULTS: Thirty-three patients were included in the study. Two of them, both with IBS, were found to have positive antibody titres. One had anti-VGKC antibodies and one had anti-alpha3-AChR antibodies. No antibodies were detected in GAD or VGCCs (case reports presented). CONCLUSIONS: A small proportion of patients with inflammatory enteric neuropathy have antibodies directed towards neuronal ion channels. The pathogenic role of such antibodies requires determination but may represent a possible aetiology of severe functional symptoms in these groups of patients.