Comparing autoantibody-negative and autoantibody-positive Autoimmune Encephalitis patients

Early diagnosis of AE allows for aggressive treatment, which greatly improves recovery outcomes. On the contrary, delayed diagnosis and treatment can lead to permanent brain injury or even loss of life. In literature, no work has been published which compares clinical, radiological and laboratory characteristics of patients with definite autoantibody-positive AE (AE+) and autoantibody-negative AE (AE-).

A group from San Raffaele Scientific Hospital in Milan (Italy) led by dr. Antonino Giordano evaluated patients admitted to their hospital with a clinical diagnosis of AE with and without a positivity in serum/CSF for the known neuronal antibodies. Comparing demographics, signs & symptoms, association with malignancy EEG, CSF, MRI, and treatment administered, they found that AE- patients and AE+ patients show similar features except for antibody detection.

They suggest that, if the clinical picture is highly suggestive for AE, antibody detection is not mandatory for diagnosis and, therefore, treatment must not be delayed. Click here for the abstract.