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Brain Res. 2015 Aug 18;1617:144-54. doi: 10.1016/j.brainres.2014.09.071. Epub 2014 Oct 7.

Post-infectious autoimmune disorders: Sydenham's chorea, PANDAS and beyond.

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Pediatric Neuropsychiatry and Immunology Clinic, Department of Psychiatry, Massachusetts General Hospital, MA, United States; Department of Psychiatry, Harvard Medical School, MA 02114, United States. Electronic address:
Pediatrics and Developmental Neuroscience Branch, National Institute of Mental Health, National Institutes of Health, MA, United States.


Infections, and the resulting immune response to these infections, have recently received increased recognition as pathogenic mechanisms for neuropsychiatric disorders. Sydenham's chorea (SC), a widely recognized post-streptococcal autoimmune disorder, represents a model for this proposed pathogenesis. In SC, a dysregulated immune response to a streptococcal infection is hypothesized to result in inflammation of neuronal networks, particularly the basal ganglia nuclei. The resulting dysfunction in the basal ganglia nuclei are hypothesized to lead to a constellation of adventitious movements and psychiatric symptoms, which investigations have shown are amenable to immunomodulatory therapies. PANDAS (Pediatric Autoimmune Neuropsychiatric Disorder Associated with Streptococcal infections) has been proposed as a variant of SC, and is hypothesized to share a pathogenic mechanism, despite a unique symptom profile of predominantly psychiatric symptoms. In this review, we present the clinical aspects of both disorders, the data for potential shared etiopathogenesis between them, and the evidence for the therapeutic use of immunomodulatory therapies for the symptoms of SC and PANDAS. This article is part of a Special Issue entitled SI: Neuroimmunology in Health And Disease.


Group A Streptococcus; Obsessive compulsive disorder; PANDAS; Sydenhamchorea

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