Physicians conducting research in Barcelona are using high-resolution microscopy and biochemical methods to unlock the secrets surrounding how anti-NMDA receptor antibodies cause disruption at the cellular level, resulting in the alteration of brain function. Dalmau and colleagues have discovered that under laboratory conditions, “NMDARs form nano-objects on the neuronal surface.” Patients with AE have developed antibodies that alter the distribution and mobility of these. This redistribution is thought to affect how synapses function and neurotransmission that is important in the human brain for such critical functions as memory and behavior.
The researchers are hopeful a better understanding of the nano-scale dynamics of NMDA receptors may be useful in the development of future treatments. The fascinating and highly technical article in Cell Reports may be read here. We thank Dr. Dalmau and all the researchers around the world who are laboring on behalf of AE patients and families to discover better treatments and ultimately a cure.