Send to

Choose Destination
Acta Neurol Scand. 2017 Jan;135(1):134-141. doi: 10.1111/ane.12575. Epub 2016 Mar 4.

Suspected antibody negative autoimmune limbic encephalitis: outcome of immunotherapy.

Author information

Department of Epileptology, University of Bonn Medical Centre, Bonn, Germany.
Department of Neurology, University Hospital Cologne, Cologne, Germany.



Whether and when to immunologically treat epilepsy patients with suggested autoantibody (AB)-negative limbic encephalitis (LE) is clinically challenging. Therefore, we evaluated the clinical outcome and eventual outcome predictors of immunotherapy in a group of AB-negative patients with recent-onset temporal lobe epilepsy (TLE), magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) indicators of LE, subjective cognitive decline, and/or psychiatric symptoms.


This retrospective, observational, uncontrolled study monitored 28 TLE patients with suggested AB-negative LE along with methylprednisolone immunotherapy.


All patients had seizures, amygdala and/or -hippocampal enlargement, subjective cognitive decline and/or behavioral problems. Eighty-six percent (24/28) were impaired in executive or memory functions, 39% (10/25) depressed, 81% were on antiepileptic drugs when pulse therapy started. After a median follow-up of 18 months, 46% (13/28) of the patients were seizure free (>2 months), 48% (13/27) showed MRI improvements (amygdala and/or hippocampal volume reduction), cognition improved in 57% (16/28), worsened in 32% (9/28), mood improved in 14% (4/25), and deteriorated in 11% (3/25). Immunotherapy was discontinued in 75% (21/28). Clinical changes did not correlate to each other. Outcomes could not be predicted.


Immunological treatment of suggested AB-negative LE showed reasonable seizure control, MRI and cognitive improvements. Treatment success was not predictable from clinical features, nor definitely attributable to immunological treatment. Lacking biomarkers for the reliable diagnosis of AB-negative LE, we suggest that in presence of mild manifestations, and after initiating antiepileptic drug therapy, negative dynamics in MRI, seizures, cognition, and behavior should be documented before immunosuppressive treatment is initiated.


antiepileptic drugs; epilepsy; immunology; mild cognitive impairment; treatment

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

Supplemental Content

Full text links

Icon for Wiley
Loading ...
Support Center