The measurement of antibodies against sulfatides, as well as antibodies against gangliosides, is used in the investigation of certain neurological diseases, particularly peripheral neuropathies.
Peripheral neuropathies are a group of neurological disorders that affect one or more peripheral nerves. The causes of peripheral neuropathies include genetic mutations, compression and mechanical nerve damage, inflammation, metabolic disorders, vitamin deficiency, exposure to toxins or drugs, and the presence of autoantibodies. Symptoms of peripheral neuropathy vary depending on the location and mechanism of nerve damage but may include sensory disturbances and loss of sensitivity, muscle weakness, and pain. Peripheral neuropathies are usually classified according to the type of nerves affected, predominantly motor, predominantly sensory, or a combination of the two.
The presence of antibodies against sulfatides, both IgG and more commonly IgM, has been associated with sensory and sensory-motor neuropathies that are sometimes accompanied by pain. In addition, the presence of IgG antibodies against sulfatides has been associated with distal sensory polyneuropathy (DSP) in HIV patients.
See also: Ganglioside Antibodies