Anti-NMDA-Receptor Encephalitis: From Bench to Clinic

Arun Venkatesan, Krishma Adatia

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

24 Scopus citations


NMDAR encephalitis is a common cause of autoimmune encephalitis, predominantly affecting young adults. Current data supports the idea that autoantibodies targeting NMDARs are responsible for disease pathogenesis. While these autoantibodies occur in the setting of underlying malignancy in approximately half of all patients, initiating factors for the autoimmune response in the remainder of patients are unclear. While there is increasing evidence supporting viral triggers such as herpes simplex encephalitis, this association and the mechanism of action have not yet been fully described. Although the majority of patients achieve good outcomes, those without an underlying tumor consistently show worse outcomes, prolonged recovery, and more frequent relapses. The cloning of patient-specific autoantibodies from affected individuals has raised important questions as to disease pathophysiology and clinical heterogeneity. Further advances in our understanding of this disease and underlying triggers are necessary to develop treatments which improve outcomes in patients presenting in the absence of tumors.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)2586-2595
Number of pages10
JournalACS Chemical Neuroscience
Issue number12
StatePublished - Dec 20 2017


  • NMDA
  • autoimmune encephalitis
  • immunotherapy
  • plasma cells
  • receptor internalization

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biochemistry
  • Physiology
  • Cognitive Neuroscience
  • Cell Biology


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