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Hashimoto encephalopathy in the 21st century.

Neurology 2020 January 15
OBJECTIVE: To report the presenting syndromes and to determine whether pretreatment criteria of Hashimoto encephalopathy (HE) predict response to steroids.

METHODS: We assessed symptoms and steroid responsiveness in 24 patients with pretreatment criteria of HE, including (1) subacute onset of cognitive impairment, psychiatric symptoms, or seizures; (2) euthyroid status or mild hypothyroidism; (3) serum thyroid peroxidase antibodies (TPOAb) >200 IU/mL; (4) absent neuronal antibodies in serum/CSF; and (5) no other etiologies. Additional studies included determination of TPOAb (>200 IU/mL) in 74 patients with criteria of possible autoimmune encephalitis (AE) without neuronal antibodies and 205 patients with different neuroimmunologic diseases, psychosis, or new-onset refractory status epilepticus (NORSE). Serum antibodies to the amino (ΝΗ2)-terminal of α-enolase (NH2-α-enolaseAb) were examined in the indicated 24 patients and 13 controls.

RESULTS: The 24 patients (14 women) with suspected HE had a median age of 48 years (range 8-79 years). Four syndromes were identified: psychiatric (7, 29%), encephalopathy (7, 29%), NORSE-like (6, 25%), and limbic encephalitis (4, 17%). Only 6 of 19 (31.6%) patients completely responded to steroids. The frequency of TPOAb in the 74 patients with possible AE (6 of 74, 8.1%) was similar to that of the 205 controls (17 of 205, 8.2%; p = 0.84). NH2-α-enolaseAb were identified in 1 of 24 suspected HE cases and 1 of 13 controls.

CONCLUSION: Current pretreatment criteria of HE do not predict steroid responsiveness. The detection of TPOAb across all control groups reveals their poor disease-specificity. NH2-α-enolaseAb did not help in the diagnosis of HE. These findings imply a redefinition of HE that requires a systematic exclusion of antibody-mediated encephalitis.

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