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Papers of the Week

2023 Jan 25


Autoimmune Cerebellar Ataxia Associated with Anti-Glutamate Receptor δ2 Antibodies: a Rare but Treatable Entity.


Khatib L, Do L-D, Benaiteau M, Villagrán-García M, Meyer P, Haidar L A, Demeret S, Honnorat J
Cerebellum. 2023 Jan 25.
PMID: 36696031.


We report two novel cases of autoimmune cerebellar ataxia (ACA) associated with anti-glutamate receptor δ2 antibodies (Gluδ2-Abs). The first case was confirmed by indirect immunofluorescence and cell-based assays: a 29-year-old woman presented after 5 days of headache and vomiting, a pancerebellar syndrome, downbeat nystagmus, decreased visual acuity linked to bilateral retrobulbar optic neuritis (RON), and lymphocytic pleocytosis in the cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) without any abnormality detected using cerebral magnetic resonance imaging (MRI). Second-line immunotherapy allowed progressive clinical improvement, with full recovery achieved after a 4-year follow-up. Thereafter, we retrospectively tested Gluδ2-Abs in 350 patients with a suspicion of autoimmune encephalitis without characterized autoantibody. We identified a second case, a 12-year-old boy who developed 10 days after a respiratory infection, a static cerebellar syndrome with lymphocytosis in the CSF, and right cerebellum hyperintensity in MRI. Five days of corticosteroid treatment allowed a quick clinical improvement. No tumor was identified in both cases, whereas laboratory analyses revealed autoimmune stigma. The present cases suggested that ACA associated with Gluδ2-Abs is an extremely rare but treatable disease. Therefore, testing for Gluδ2-Abs might be considered in the setting of suspected ACA and no initial antibody identification. The visual deficits and ocular motility abnormalities observed in the first reported case might be part of the clinical spectrum of Gluδ2-Abs ACA. Young age, infectious prodromes, lymphocytic pleocytosis, and autoimmune background usually appear together with this syndrome and should lead to discuss the initiation of immunotherapy (after ruling out differential diagnosis, especially infectious causes).