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In Guillain-Barre syndrome the suppressor T cell response is reduced suggesting a cell-mediated immunological reaction directed at the peripheral nerves. Occasionally, serum antibodies to myelin components are detected.

Nerve damage occurs segmentally. Lymphocytes infiltrate the nerve roots and release cytotoxic substances that damage the Schwann cells and myelin. Myelin is removed by macrophages. If the axon is damaged, the nerve cell dies, and regeneration becomes impossible.

Last reviewed 10/2021