Understanding Frequency, Age, and Sex Associations With Autoimmune Encephalitis Biomarkers: Amy Kunchok, MD


The staff neurologist at Cleveland Clinic’s Mellen Center for Multiple Sclerosis Treatment and Research discussed the results of a new study on age and sex as determinants of autoimmune encephalitis. [WATCH TIME: 3 minutes]

WATCH TIME: 3 minutes

"So far, most of the studies of autoimmune encephalitis have come from single centers. They are often small, descriptive cohorts that give us clinical information, which has paved a lot of the understanding so far. In this study, we tried to take a big picture or big data perspective."

Although uncommon, autoimmune/paraneoplastic encephalitis/encephalopathy (AE) has become an increasingly recognized cognition with the use of antibody biomarkers. Due to its rarity, it has been hard for clinicians to gather large-scale data, making it one of the more difficult conditions to research. Although, a new study led by Amy Kunchok, MD, the largest of its kind to date, included 42032 patients who were tested for AE antibody biomarkers (AE-Abs) in serum and/or cerebrospinal fluid (CSF).

The results, presented at the Americas Committee for Treatment and Research in Multiple Sclerosis (ACTRIMS) Forum 2022, Feb 24-26, in West Palm Beach, Florida, showed that age and sex were determinants of the frequency of AE-Ab detection, with notable trends observed. In adults, the most frequency AE-Abs detected were NMDA-R-IgG, GAD65-IgG, and LGI1-IgG; whereas in children, the most frequent AE-Abs were NMDA-R-IgG, GAD65-IgG, and MOG-IgG1. Female sex was associated with NMDA-R-IgG and GAD65-IgG while male sex was associated with LGI1-IgG.

Kunchok, staff neurologist, Mellen Center for Multiple Sclerosis Treatment and Research, Cleveland Clinic, concluded that age and sex associations of autoimmune/paraneoplastic biomarkers may aid in the prognostication and provide inference to disease pathophysiology. NeurologyLive® sat down with Kunchok at the ACTRIMS Forum to discuss why this is an important area of research, along with some of the specific findings she observed. Additionally, she provided insight on which findings may contrast what has been previously known about autoimmune disorders.

For more coverage of ACTRIMS Forum 2022, click here.

1. Kunchok, A, McKeon A, Zekeridou A, et al. Autoimmune encephalitis antibody biomarkers: frequency, age and sex associations. Presented at: ACTRIMS Forum 2022; February 24-26; West Palm Beach, Florida. Abstract CE2.4
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