2018 GBS|CIDP Foundation Research Grant Recipient Publishes Update in Journal of Neurology, Neurosurgery & Psychology

CSF sphingomyelin: a new biomarker of demyelination in the diagnosis and management of CIDP and GBS

Principal Investigators: Luana Benedetti, MD, PhD  and  Lucilla Nobbio, PhD, University of Genova, ITALY

CIDP and GBS are immune-mediated neuropathies characterized by strong heterogeneity in terms of clinical manifestations, prognosis and response to treatment. They are treatable diseases and early recognition is essential but, besides clinical and neurophysiological criteria, there are not clinically acceptable biological markers to diagnose and classify GBS, CIDP and their variants. Treasuring the needs of GBS/CIDP community, we have been engaged for a few years in identifying and validating up to the clinical implementation a biomarker of demyelination for these patients. In this Italian multicenter prospective study, we demonstrate that sphingomyelin (SM) dosage in the CSF of patients with CIDP and GBS may effectively improve their management and thereby the quality of life of affected individuals and their families.

In fact, CSF SM dosage has shown to be:

  • a good diagnostic biomarker enabling, at the same time, a correct diagnosis in more than 80% of patients and the identification of misdiagnosed patients with a 100% specificity;
  • a good staging biomarker enabling the proper identification of the vast majority of patients with CIDP in the active stage of the disease, fundamental to select the most appropriate timing for therapeutic intervention;
  • a reliable, accurate and clinically acceptable biomarker because it is simple, inexpensive and easily amenable to routine use without the need for sophisticated equipment or operator skill.

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