Antoantibodies against sympathetic ganglia and evidence of cardiac sympathetic dysinnervation in newly diagnosed and long-term IDDM patients

O. Schnell, D. Muhr, S. Dresel, K. Tatsch, A. G. Ziegler, M. Haslbeck, E. Standl

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31 Scopus citations


To investigate the presence of autoantibodies against sympathetic nervous tissue and their correlation with cardiac sympathetic dysinnervation in insulin-dependent diabetes mellitus (IDDM), 20 newly diagnosed (age 26 ± 6 years) and 48 long-term IDDM patients (age 40 ± 13 years, duration of diabetes 22 ± 12 years) without myocardial perfusion abnormalities (normal 99mTC-methoxyisobutylisonitrile uptake) were assessed for myocardial 123I-metaiodobenzylguanidine (123I-MIBG) uptake and complement-fixing sympathetic ganglia (CF-SG) autoantibodies. Both groups of patients were also studied for islet cell antibodies (ICA) and EGG-based cardiac autonomic neuropathy. Eighty control subjects (age 18-49 years) were investigated for CF-SG autoantibodies. Eight newly diagnosed (40%) and 12 long-term (25%) IDDM patients exhibited CF-SG autoantibodies, compared to 4 control subjects (5%; p < 0.01, p < 0.05). In long-term diabetic patients, the reduction of global but not of regional myocardial 123I-MIBG uptake correlated with CF-SG autoantibodies (r = 0.34, p = 0.02). Newly diagnosed diabetic patients did not shaw an association between CF-SG autoantibodies and global or regional myocardial 123I-MIBG uptake. EGG-based cardiac autonomic neuropathy (≤ two of five cardiac reflex tests abnormal) was present in 22 and absent in 26 long-term IDDM patients, of whom 9 (41%) and 3 (12%), respectively were positive for CF-SG autoantibodies (p = 0.02). Only 1 newly diagnosed IDDM patient demonstrated ECG-based cardiac autonomic neuropathy and was also positive for CF-SG autoantibodies. Although they are somewhat suggestive, results concerning autoantibodies against sympathetic nervous tissue and cardiac sympathetic dysinnervation do not strongly support the view that autoimmune mechanisms play a major role in the pathogenesis of cardiac sympathetic neuropathy in IDDM.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)970-975
Number of pages6
Issue number8
StatePublished - 1996
Externally publishedYes


  • Autonomic neuropathy
  • Insulin-dependent diabetes mellitus
  • Islet cell antibodies
  • Metaiodobenzylguanidine
  • Nervous tissue autoantibodies


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