, Volume 258, Issue 4, pp 686-688,
Open Access This content is freely available online to anyone, anywhere at any time.
Date: 26 Oct 2010

Disease-relevant autoantibodies in first episode schizophrenia

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Dear Sirs,

Schizophrenia is a common, heterogenous and complex disorder with unknown aetiology [1]. There is established evidence for N-methyl-d-aspartate receptor (NMDAR) hypofunction [2] as a central component of the functional dysconnectivity that is the most accepted model for symptoms [3], and increasing evidence for potassium channel dysfunction [4]. Moreover, autoimmune mechanisms have been proposed, perhaps in subgroups of patients [5, 6]. In the last few years, antibodies to neuronal cell surface antigens have been identified in cases of autoimmune encephalitis that respond to immunotherapy [7, 8]. Over two-thirds of patients with NMDAR antibody encephalitis, and some with potassium channel antibody-associated limbic encephalitis, have prominent psychiatric symptoms, or may present to psychiatric services in the first instance [7, 9, 10]. The psychiatric symptoms are those seen in schizophrenia including delusions, hallucinations, and catatonic movement disorder. There is good