Outcome of limbic encephalitis with VGKC-complex antibodies: relation to antigenic specificity.
Malter MP., Frisch C., Schoene-Bake JC., Helmstaedter C., Wandinger KP., Stoecker W., Urbach H., Surges R., Elger CE., Vincent AV., Bien CG.
In limbic encephalitis (LE) with antibodies (Abs) to the voltage-gated potassium channel complex (VGKC), the Abs are mainly directed to the VGKC-complex proteins, leucine-rich, glioma inactivated 1 protein (LGI1) or contactin-associated protein-like 2 (CASPR-2) or neither. Here, we relate the outcomes of VGKC-LE patients to the presence of Abs to LGI1, CASPR-2 or neither antigen (LGI1/CASPR-2-Ab(-)). Clinical, neuropsychology and MRI data were obtained from patient records for all LE patients from the Bonn Epilepsy Centre positive for VGKC-Abs by radioimmunoprecipitation assay between 2002 and 2011. Eighteen VGKC-LE patients were identified: nine patients (50 %) had LGI1-Abs, three (16 %) had CASPR-2-Abs; and six (33 %) were negative for both LGI1- and CASPR-2-Abs. At first assessment, the groups did not differ clinically or radiologically, but faciobrachial dystonic seizures were only observed in two LGI1-Ab(+) patients. All patients received monthly intravenous methylprednisolone (MP) pulses. At the most recent follow up (median 26 months), thirteen (72 %) were seizure-free, and seizure-freedom rates did not differ between the Ab groups. Hippocampal atrophy had developed in 7/9 LGI1-Ab(+) patients, but in none of the CASPR-2-Ab(+) or LGI/CASPR-2-Ab(-) patients (p = 0.003). While all subgroups improved, memory scores only normalized in six patients (33 %) and LGI1-Ab(+) patients were left with significantly poorer memory than the other two subgroups. Most VGKC-LE patients become seizure-free with pulsed monthly MP, but memory outcome is less favourable. Hippocampal atrophy and poor memory recovery is common in patients with LGI1-Abs and suggests permanent functional damage. More intense immunotherapies could improve outcomes in LGI1-Ab(+)-LE.