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  • The action of Lambert-Eaton myasthenic syndrome immunoglobulin G on cloned human voltage-gated calcium channels.

    24 October 2018

    In the Lambert-Eaton myasthenic syndrome (LEMS), immunoglobulin G (IgG) autoantibodies to presynaptic voltage-gated calcium channels (VGCCs) at the neuromuscular junction lead to a reduction in nerve-evoked release of neurotransmitter and muscle weakness. We have examined the action of LEMS IgGs on cloned human VGCCs stably expressed in transfected human embryonic kidney (HEK293) cell lines: 10-13 (alpha(1A-2), alpha(2b)delta, beta(4a)) and C2D7 (alpha(1B-1), alpha(2b)delta, beta(1b)). All LEMS IgGs studied showed surface binding to [(125)I]-omega-CTx-MVIIC-labeled VGCCs in the alpha(1A) cell line and two of six IgGs showed surface binding to [(125)I]-omega-CTx-GVIA-labeled VGCCs in the alpha(1B) cell line. We next studied the effect of LEMS IgGs (2 mg/ml) on whole-cell calcium currents in the alpha(1A) and alpha(1B) cell lines. Overnight treatment of alpha(1A) (10-13) cells with LEMS IgGs led to a significant reduction in peak current density without alteration of the current-voltage relationship or the voltage dependence of steady-state inactivation. In contrast, LEMS IgGs did not reduce peak current density in the alpha(1B) cell line. Overall these data demonstrate the specificity of LEMS IgGs for the alpha(1A) cell line and suggest that LEMS IgGs bind to and downregulate VGCCs in this cell line. Although several LEMS IgGs can be shown to bind to the alpha(1B) (C2D7) cell line, no functional effects were seen on this channel.

  • Contactin-associated protein-2 antibodies in non-paraneoplastic cerebellar ataxia.

    24 October 2018

    BACKGROUND: Relatively few studies have searched for potentially pathogenic antibodies in non-paraneoplastic patients with cerebellar ataxia. METHODS AND RESULTS: We first screened sera from 52 idiopathic ataxia patients for binding of serum IgG antibodies to cerebellar neurons. One strong-binding serum was selected for immunoprecipitation and mass spectrometry, which resulted in the identification of contactin-associated protein 2 (CASPR2) as a major antigen. CASPR2 antibodies were then found by a cell-based assay in 9/88 (10%) ataxia patients, compared to 3/144 (2%) multiple sclerosis or dementia controls (p=0.011). CASPR2 is strongly expressed in the cerebellum, only partly in association with voltage-gated potassium channels. CONCLUSIONS: Prospective studies are now needed to see whether identification of CASPR2 antibodies has relevance for the diagnosis and treatment of idiopathic cerebellar ataxia.

  • VGKC antibodies in pediatric encephalitis presenting with status epilepticus.

    24 October 2018

    BACKGROUND: Voltage-gated potassium channel antibodies (VGKC Ab) are associated with limbic encephalitis and neuromyotonia in adults. There have been no systematic investigations in children to date. METHODS: We looked for antibodies that are associated with CNS syndromes in adults including antibodies to VGKCs, NMDARs, glutamic acid decarboxylase (GAD), and glycine receptor (GlyR) in the stored acute serum from 10 children with unexplained encephalitis presenting with encephalopathy and status epilepticus. We also looked for antibodies to leucine-rich glioma-inactivated 1 (Lgi1) and contactin-associated protein-like 2 (Caspr2), which are now known to be tightly complexed with VGKCs in vivo. Sixty-nine pediatric controls were used for comparison. RESULTS: An elevated VGKC Ab (>100 pM) was detected in 4/10 patients with encephalitis compared to only 1/69 controls (p < 0.001). The outcome in the 4 VGKC Ab-positive patients with encephalitis was variable including good recovery (n = 1), cognitive impairment (n = 3), temporal lobe epilepsy (n = 2), and mesial temporal sclerosis (n = 1). No other antibodies were detected, including those to Lgi1 and Caspr2. CONCLUSION: Encephalitis associated with VGKC Ab occurs in children and presents with status epilepticus and focal epilepsy. These antibodies are not directed against Lgi1 or Caspr2.

  • Autoimmune epilepsies.

    24 October 2018

    PURPOSE OF REVIEW: To review the recent literature describing the detection and clinical importance of serum antibodies in patients with various epilepsies and other seizure-related disorders. RECENT FINDINGS: Auto-antibodies to the NMDA, GABAB and AMPA receptors and to LGI1, CASPR2 and Contactin-2, components of the voltage-gated potassium channel complex, have been detected in the serum of patients with seizures. These antigenic targets are ion channels, receptors and accessory proteins important in both cellular homeostasis and governing the electrical activity of the brain. Antibodies to glutamic acid decarboxylase (GAD) have been found in patients with temporal lobe epilepsy. Antibodies to LGI1 have been described in around 90% of patients with the newly described epileptic syndrome of faciobrachial dystonic seizures. SUMMARY: An increasing number of antibodies have been described in the epilepsies and other seizure-related disorders. Evidence of direct pathogenicity comes from the extracellular domain targeted by all of these antibodies (other than GAD) and the often dramatic clinical and serological response to immunotherapies, when antiepileptic drugs may be ineffective. Definitive proof as to the pathological relevance of these antibodies will be achieved in the generation of an animal model that demonstrates the clinical phenotype of these antibody-mediated disorders.

  • The growing recognition of immunotherapy-responsive seizure disorders with autoantibodies to specific neuronal proteins.

    24 October 2018

    PURPOSE OF REVIEW: The concept of epilepsy and seizure disorders caused by autoantibodies to specific neuronal membrane proteins has developed significantly during the past few years. RECENT FINDINGS: Antibodies to cell-surface membrane proteins such as voltage-gated potassium channels or N-methyl-D-aspartate receptors, or to glutamic acid decarboxylase, are found in patients with different forms of limbic encephalitis, and in a few patients with epilepsy as their main or only condition. Many of these patients do not show a good response to conventional antiepileptic drugs, but respond to immunotherapies. By contrast, studies of other antibodies in idiopathic forms of epilepsy, or epilepsy associated with systemic lupus erythematosus or coeliac disease, have not in general disclosed consistent, clinically helpful results. SUMMARY: There are a growing number of specific antibodies associated with new onset epilepsy. These patients are likely to have an immune-mediated disorder that may benefit from immunotherapies. In autoimmune diseases such as systemic lupus erythematosus or coeliac disease, antibodies to specific membrane targets may also prove to be important in the future.

  • Clinical and serological study of myasthenia gravis in HuBei Province, China.

    24 October 2018

    BACKGROUND: Ocular and childhood myasthenia gravis (MG) cases seem relatively more common in Oriental than in Caucasian populations, but there have been no comprehensive serological studies on patients from mainland China. METHODS: 391 unselected patients with MG attending Tongji Hospital in WuHan (the largest hospital in the province of HuBei, China) were studied during a 15-month period; most had already received treatment for their condition. RESULTS: The male to female ratio was 0.8. 50% of the patients were children (<15 years), and age at onset showed a single peak at between 5 and 10 years of age. 64% of the children and 66% of the adults were positive for acetylcholine receptor (AChR) antibodies but the antibody titres were lower than in similar Caucasian studies, although this was partly due to the high incidence of ocular MG. Of the 43 patients with generalised MG without AChR antibodies, only 1 had muscle-specific kinase antibodies (2.5%) and 2 had voltage-gated calcium channel antibodies indicating probable Lambert-Eaton myasthenic syndrome. 75% of the children, compared with only 28% of the adults, had ocular MG. Thymoma was evident by MRI in 1.5% of children and in 20% of adults. Despite most patients having received prednisone, very few had obtained full clinical remission. CONCLUSION: This study emphasises the frequency of early childhood onset with ocular symptoms and shows that many of these patients have AChR antibodies. By contrast, patients presenting in later age seem to be very uncommon in comparison with recent studies in Caucasian populations.

  • IgG subclass distribution of autoantibodies in pediatric opsoclonus-myoclonus syndrome.

    24 October 2018

    Opsoclonus-myoclonus syndrome (OMS) in children is a rare disorder including a severe eye movement disturbance, myoclonia, ataxia and often developmental retardation. Both OMS forms, idiopathic or neuroblastoma-associated (paraneoplastic), have been suspected to be autoimmune. Recently, autoantibodies have been found in OMS sera. We here show that autoantibodies in OMS, both intracellular and surface binding, belong mainly to the IgG3 subclass, although the total serum IgG3 level is normal. These results support the autoimmune hypothesis and point to a protein autoantigen as antigenic target.

  • Blood Vessel Flow Studies

    26 August 2016

  • Blood Pressure

    26 August 2016

  • Cognitive testing

    26 August 2016

  • CCRF

    26 August 2016

  • Support

    18 October 2016

    Link to the FMRIB-OHBA intranet for information and documents relating to the building, scanning, recording and computing.

  • Published Paper: Science Translational Medicine

    27 April 2017

    "Ipsilesional anodal tDCS enhances the functional benefits of rehabilitation in patients after stroke" - Allman, Amadi et al. 2016

  • Published Paper: eLife

    27 April 2017

    "Perceptually relevant remapping of human somatotopy in 24 hours" - Kolasinski et al. 2016

  • Kadoorie Centre Critical Care Research Blog: November 2016

    11 January 2017

    Marco Pimentel is the Post-Doctoral Research Assistant working on the HAVEN project. He studied biomedical engineering at the New University of Lisbon, Portugal, and joined the Oxford Centre for Doctoral training in Healthcare Innovation in 2010. He completed his DPhil in Engineering in 2015 for which he focused on multivariate time-series modelling using Gaussian processes for detecting deterioration in vital-sign data acquired from post-operative patients. He has been working with the Critical Care Research Group since 2014 and his talk to the group was an achievement that delivered a full explanation of using patient and hospital data for research purposes without using maths or equations!

  • Charlie awarded NDCN Outreach Funding

    16 January 2017

    £500 awarded for the Centre for the Creative Brain at St Edmund Hall