Where will Guillain-Barre Syndrome Attacks?

Guillain-Barré Syndrome Targeted Areas of Attack

This article explores the areas of the nervous system that are primarily targeted in Guillain-Barré Syndrome, shedding light on the impact of this disorder on the body’s neurological functions.

Where will Guillain-Barre Syndrome Attacks?

Peripheral Nervous System: The Focus of Attack

Guillain-Barré Syndrome primarily affects the peripheral nervous system, which consists of nerves extending beyond the brain and spinal cord. This system plays a crucial role in transmitting signals between the central nervous system and the body’s organs, muscles, and sensory receptors. In GBS, the immune system mistakenly identifies components of the peripheral nerves as foreign and launches an attack, resulting in various neurological symptoms.

Nerve Fibers and Myelin Sheath

Within the peripheral nervous system, Guillain-Barré Syndrome targets the nerve fibers and their protective covering called the myelin sheath. Nerve fibers are essential structures responsible for transmitting electrical signals, allowing communication between the brain, spinal cord, and the rest of the body. The myelin sheath acts as an insulating layer around the nerve fibers, facilitating efficient signal transmission.

Inflammatory Response and Damage

In GBS, the immune system initiates an inflammatory response against the peripheral nerves, leading to damage to the nerve fibers and the myelin sheath. This inflammation disrupts the normal functioning of the nerves, resulting in muscle weakness, tingling sensations, numbness, and other neurological symptoms associated with Guillain-Barré Syndrome.

Segmental Demyelination and Axonal Degeneration

Two main patterns of nerve damage can occur in Guillain-Barré Syndrome: segmental demyelination and axonal degeneration. In segmental demyelination, the immune system’s attack primarily affects the myelin sheath, leading to a disruption in the conduction of nerve impulses. This results in a range of sensory and motor symptoms experienced by individuals with GBS.

In some cases, Guillain-Barré Syndrome may involve axonal degeneration, where the immune system attacks and damages the nerve fibers themselves. This can lead to more severe muscle weakness and a slower recovery process compared to cases primarily involving demyelination.

Ascending Pattern and Involvement of Motor Functions

Guillain-Barré Syndrome often exhibits an ascending pattern, meaning that symptoms typically start in the lower extremities and gradually progress upward toward the upper body. This pattern reflects the way the immune system attack spreads through the peripheral nerves, affecting motor functions and muscle control.

Respiratory Muscles and Autonomic Nervous System

In severe cases of Guillain-Barré Syndrome, the immune system’s attack can also involve the respiratory muscles and the autonomic nervous system. The autonomic sensory system controls compulsory physical processes, for example, pulse, circulatory strain, assimilation, and perspiring. In GBS, autonomic dysfunction can lead to cardiovascular instability, fluctuations in blood pressure, and difficulties with bladder and bowel function.


Guillain-Barré Syndrome primarily targets the peripheral nervous system, specifically the nerve fibers and the myelin sheath. The immune system’s attack leads to inflammation, damage to the nerves, and disruption of signal transmission. Understanding the areas of attack in GBS helps in comprehending the diverse range of neurological symptoms experienced by individuals with this disorder. By identifying the targeted components, healthcare professionals can provide appropriate treatment and management strategies to support individuals affected by Guillain-Barré Syndrome on their path to recovery.

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