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Medical Science Monitor Basic Research


Anti-N-Methyl-D-Aspartate Receptor Encephalitis with Serum Anti-Thyroid Antibodies: A Case Report and Literature Review

Challenging differential diagnosis, Diagnostic / therapeutic accidents, Management of emergency care, Unexpected drug reaction , Rare disease, Educational Purpose (only if useful for a systematic review or synthesis)

Emilia Matera, Alessandra Gabellone, Maria Giuseppina Petruzzelli, Lucia Marzulli, Flora Furente, Lucia Margari

Italy Department of Biomedical Sciences and Human Oncology, University Hospital of Bari, Bari, Italy

Am J Case Rep 2021; 22:e931104

DOI: 10.12659/AJCR.931104

Available online: 2021-04-13

Published: 2021-05-17


BACKGROUND: Anti-N methyl D-aspartate receptor encephalitis (anti-NMDArE) is a disorder in which triggers such as infectious agents or neoplastic disease can lead to an autoimmune response against the nervous system, although this disorder is usually idiopathic. Some patients with anti-NMDArE have evidence of other autoimmune alterations. Here, we present a case of non-paraneoplastic anti-NMDArE with elevation of serum anti-thyroid antibodies and a literature review of this association.
CASE REPORT: A 16-year-old girl was admitted in the University Hospital of Bari for a new onset of tonic-clonic seizures. Progressively, the patient manifested also psychomotor agitation, language difficulties, memory impairment, psychotic symptoms, autonomic dysfunction, and psychomotor retardation. Blood evaluation revealed the presence of anti-thyroglobulin, anti-thyroperoxidase, and anti-NMDAr antibodies. Cerebrospinal fluid analysis confirmed the diagnosis of anti-NMDArE. No tumors were found. Treatment with intravenous immunoglobulin, steroids, and plasma exchange relieved symptoms and decreased levels of serum anti-NMDAr antibodies. After 12 months, the patient had full recovery of communicative capacity, with the persistence of slight difficulty of memory and mild tendency to irritability. Blood exams shown persistence of anti-NMDAr positivity and absence of anti-thyroid antibodies.
CONCLUSIONS: We report a rare case in which an autoimmune involvement of thyroid gland was concurrent with an anti-NMDArE. It would be useful for clinical practice to clarify whether the presence of anti-thyroid antibody an characterize the clinical course, prognosis, and response to treatment of the idiopathic type of anti-NMDArE.

Keywords: Thyroiditis, Anti-N-Methyl-D-Aspartate Receptor Encephalitis, Adolescent