What causes Guillain-Barré Syndrome (GBS)? – Asian Neuro Centre

Is GBS a Serious Disease?, Causes, Risk Factors, Treatment & More
August 24, 2023
Difference Between Bell’s Palsy and Facial Palsy – Asian Neuro Centre
September 4, 2023
Show all

What causes Guillain-Barré Syndrome (GBS)? – Asian Neuro Centre

Guillain-Barré Syndrome (GBS), is a rare but serious neurological condition that affects the peripheral nervous system. While the exact cause of GBS is not always clear, there are certain factors that are believed to play a role in its development.

Here, we’ll explore the potential causes of GBS and shed light on this complex condition.

Infections Triggering the Immune System:

GBS often occurs after an infection, particularly viral or bacterial. The body’s immune response to fight off the infection can sometimes lead to an unintended attack on the nerves. Common infections linked to GBS include:

  • Campylobacter: A bacteria often found in undercooked poultry and contaminated water.
  • Influenza: The flu virus can sometimes trigger GBS, especially in the period following infection.
  • Epstein-Barr Virus: This virus is associated with illnesses like mononucleosis.

Autoimmune Response:

In GBS, the immune system mistakenly targets healthy nerve cells. While infections can trigger this immune response, other factors may also play a role in the development of GBS, including:

  • Vaccinations: In rare cases, certain vaccines, such as the flu vaccine or the Zika virus vaccine, have been linked to GBS.
  • Surgery or Trauma: Some individuals develop GBS after surgery or physical trauma. The body’s response to the trauma might trigger the autoimmune reaction.


Sometimes, the immune system may confuse the pathogens (harmful microorganisms) causing the infection with nerve cells. This cross-reactivity can lead to the immune system attacking both the infection and the nerves. This mistaken attack on the nerves can result in the characteristic symptoms of GBS.

Genetic Predisposition:

While GBS is not generally considered a genetic disorder, genetics may still play a role in determining who is more susceptible to developing the syndrome. Certain genetic factors could influence how an individual’s immune system responds to infections or other triggers.

Environmental Factors:

Environmental factors, such as exposure to certain toxins or chemicals, could potentially contribute to the development of GBS. However, more research is needed to fully understand the relationship between these factors and the onset of GBS.

Age and Gender:

GBS can affect people of any age, but it’s more common in adults and the elderly. Also, some studies suggest a slightly higher risk for males compared to females.


Dr. Navin Tiwari
Consulting Neurologist

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *