Neurologic syndromes related to anti-GAD65: Clinical and serologic response to treatment.


Antibodies against glutamic acid decarboxylase 65 (anti-GAD65) are associated with a number of neurologic syndromes. However, their pathogenic role is controversial. Our objective was to describe clinical and paraclinical characteristics of anti-GAD65 patients and analyze their response to immunotherapy.


Retrospectively, we studied patients (n = 56) with positive anti-GAD65 and any neurologic symptom. We tested serum and CSF with ELISA, immunohistochemistry, and cell-based assay. Accordingly, we set a cutoff value of 10,000 IU/mL in serum by ELISA to group patients into high-concentration (n = 36) and low-concentration (n = 20) groups. We compared clinical and immunologic features and analyzed response to immunotherapy.


Classical anti-GAD65-associated syndromes were seen in 34/36 patients with high concentration (94%): stiff-person syndrome (7), cerebellar ataxia (3), chronic epilepsy (9), limbic encephalitis (9), or an overlap of 2 or more of the former (6). Patients with low concentrations had a broad, heterogeneous symptom spectrum. Immunotherapy was effective in 19/27 treated patients (70%), although none of them completely recovered. Antibody concentration reduction occurred in 15/17 patients with available pre- and post-treatment samples (median reduction 69%; range 27%-99%), of which 14 improved clinically. The 2 patients with unchanged concentrations showed no clinical improvement. No differences in treatment responses were observed between specific syndromes.


Most patients with high anti-GAD65 concentrations (>10,000 IU/mL) showed some improvement after immunotherapy, unfortunately without complete recovery. Serum antibody concentrations' course might be useful to monitor response. In patients with low anti-GAD65 concentrations, especially in those without typical clinical phenotypes, diagnostic alternatives are more likely.

Copyright © 2020 The Author(s). Published by Wolters Kluwer Health, Inc. on behalf of the American Academy of Neurology.

Overview publication

TitleNeurologic syndromes related to anti-GAD65: Clinical and serologic response to treatment.
Issue nameNeurology(R) neuroimmunology & neuroinflammation
Issue numberv7.3
AuthorsMuñoz-Lopetegi A, de Bruijn MAAM, Boukhrissi S, Bastiaansen AEM, Nagtzaam MMP, Hulsenboom ESP, Boon AJW, Neuteboom RF, de Vries JM, Sillevis Smitt PAE, Schreurs MWJ & Titulaer MJ
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