Unexpected findings by Josep Dalmau, MD, PhD, change limbic encephalitis disease diagnosis, classification and aid understanding of other neurological diseases

July 7, 2010


New findings indicate that the target of autoantibodies that are associated with limbic encephalitis is LGI1 - a protein involved in fine-tuning of neuronal synapses. The results suggest that testing for these antibodies to LGI1 is diagnostic for limbic encephalitis, and mean that the current classification of the disease should be changed, concludes an Article published Online First and in the August edition of The Lancet Neurology.

Autoimmune synaptic encephalopathies are neurological disorders in which patients develop antibodies against proteins on neuronal synapses. Patients present with seizures and neuropsychiatric symptoms, such as psychosis and changes in memory, cognition, and behaviour. Such symptoms are common in patients with limbic encephalitis, an autoimmune synaptic encephalopathy previously attributed to autoantibodies against voltage-gated potassium channels.

A team lead by Josep Dalmau, University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia, PA, USA, failed to replicate the indirect evidence on autoantibodies against voltage-gated potassium channels in limbic encephalitis so they then sought to find the true target of autoantibodies – known as the autoantigen... read more