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Autoantibodies associated with diseases of the CNS: new developments and future challenges.

Lancet Neurology 2011 August
Several CNS disorders associated with specific antibodies to ion channels, receptors, and other synaptic proteins have been recognised over the past 10 years, and can be often successfully treated with immunotherapies. Antibodies to components of voltage-gated potassium channel complexes (VGKCs), NMDA receptors (NMDARs), AMPA receptors (AMPARs), GABA type B receptors (GABA(B)Rs), and glycine receptors (GlyRs) can be identified in patients and are associated with various clinical presentations, such as limbic encephalitis and complex and diffuse encephalopathies. These diseases can be associated with tumours, but they are more often non-paraneoplastic, and antibody assays can help with diagnosis. The new specialty of immunotherapy-responsive CNS disorders is likely to expand further as more antibody targets are discovered. Recent findings raise many questions about the classification of these diseases, the relation between antibodies and specific clinical phenotypes, the relative pathological roles of serum and intrathecal antibodies, the mechanisms of autoantibody generation, and the development of optimum treatment strategies.

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