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  • Calcium channel subtypes contributing to acetylcholine release from normal, 4-aminopyridine-treated and myasthenic syndrome auto-antibodies-affected neuromuscular junctions.

    24 October 2018

    1 Acetylcholine release at the neuromuscular junction relies on rapid, local and transient calcium increase at presynaptic active zones, triggered by the ion influx through voltage-dependent calcium channels (VDCCs) clustered on the presynaptic membrane. Pharmacological investigation of the role of different VDCC subtypes (L-, N-, P/Q- and R-type) in spontaneous and evoked acetylcholine (ACh) release was carried out in adult mouse neuromuscular junctions (NMJs) under normal and pathological conditions. 2 omega-Agatoxin IVA (500 nM), a specific P/Q-type VDCC blocker, abolished end plate potentials (EPPs) in normal NMJs. However, when neurotransmitter release was potentiated by the presence of the K(+) channel blocker 4-aminopyridine (4-AP), an omega-agatoxin IVA- and omega-conotoxin MVIIC-resistant component was detected. This resistant component was only partially sensitive to 1 micro M omega-conotoxin GVIA (N-type VDCC blocker), but insensitive to any other known VDCC blockers. Spontaneous release was dependent only on P/Q-type VDCC in normal NMJs. However, in the presence of 4-AP, it relied on L-type VDCCs too. 3 ACh release from normal NMJs was compared with that of NMJs of mice passively injected with IgGs obtained from patients with Lambert-Eaton myasthenic syndrome (LEMS), a disorder characterized by a compromised neurotransmitter release. Differently from normal NMJs, in LEMS IgGs-treated NMJs an omega-agatoxin IVA-resistant EPP component was detected, which was only partially blocked by calciseptine (1 micro M), a specific L-type VDCC blocker. 4 Altogether, these data demonstrate that multiple VDCC subtypes are present at the mouse NMJ and that a resistant component can be identified under 'pharmacological' and/or 'pathological' conditions.

  • P/Q-type calcium channel antibodies, Lambert-Eaton myasthenic syndrome and survival in small cell lung cancer.

    24 October 2018

    To assess the survival impact of the presence of P/Q-type calcium channel antibodies in patients with small cell lung carcinoma (SCLC), we examined the frequency of the antibodies and Lambert-Eaton myasthenic syndrome (LEMS) in 148 consecutive patients with SCLC, and in 30 patients with paraneoplastic cerebellar degeneration and SCLC, and studied their relation with survival. In both series, only patients with LEMS had a remarkably long survival, whereas presence of the antibodies without LEMS did not result in a better prognosis.

  • Autoimmune epilepsy in children: Case series and proposed guidelines for identification

    24 October 2018

    Summary Purpose Antibodies against neuronal surface proteins are increasingly recognized in autoimmune central nervous system (CNS) disorders in which seizures are the main or an important feature. The disorders include antibody-associated limbic encephalitis and N-methyl-D-aspartate receptor (NMDAR)encephalitis; however, seizures of autoimmune etiology may exist beyond the spectrum of these recognized syndromes. Because these seizures are potentially treatable with immune therapy, guidelines are needed to help in their early recognition. Methods We describe 13 representative children seen at our tertiary institution over a period of 3.5 years with suspected autoimmune epilepsy. Autoimmune epilepsy was suspected clinically when there was any of the following: (1) recognizable syndromes such as NMDAR encephalitis or limbic encephalitis, (2) evidence of CNS inflammation in cerebrospinal fluid or on magnetic resonance imaging (MRI), (3) the presence of other autoimmune diseases, or (4) positive response to immunotherapy. We tested these patients for neuronal surface antibodies (voltage gated potassium channel [VGKC]-complex, leucine rich glioma inactivated 1 [LGI1], contactin-associated protein-like 2 [CASPR2], and NMDAR) and glutamic acid decarboxylase (GAD) antibodies. We modified the J Neurol Neurosurg Psychiatry, 83, 2012, 638 guidelines that were designed to classify adults with neuronal surface antibody syndromes (NSAS), to be more appropriate for children with suspected autoimmune epilepsy. Using the modified guidelines, the 13 patients were classified into definite, probable, possible, unlikely, or unknown autoimmune epilepsy according to the presence of neuronal surface or GAD antibodies, and the response to immune therapy when given. Key Findings Of the 13 patients, 11 were females, and the mean age was 6 years (range 1-13 years). Three patients had classical NMDAR encephalitis, two had VGKC encephalitis, two had limbic encephalitis with negative antibodies, three had epilepsy with other autoimmune diseases (one with high titer GAD antibodies), two had fever-induced refractory epileptic encephalopathy in school-aged children (FIRES), and one epileptic encephalopathy associated with VGKC antibodies. Seven patients of the 13 children with suspected autoimmune epilepsy were positive for neuronal surface antibodies (NMDAR, n = 3; VGKC-complex, n = 3; and GAD, n = 1). Immunotherapy was given to nine cases, and a positive response was more common in patients with positive neuronal surface antibodies (5/5) compared to those with negative antibodies (2/4). Applying the proposed guidelines, the classification of autoimmune epilepsy was definite in five, probable in one, possible in three, unlikely in two, and unknown in two patients. Significance Neuronal surface antibodies and GAD antibodies are present in a proportion of children with suspected autoimmune epilepsy and may define a treatable subgroup of childhood epilepsy. The proposed guidelines can be useful in the recognition of children with seizures of autoimmune etiology. © Wiley Periodicals, Inc. © 2013 International League Against Epilepsy.

  • Prevalence of neurologic autoantibodies in cohorts of patients with new and established epilepsy.

    24 October 2018

    PURPOSE: Autoantibodies to specific neurologic proteins are associated with subacute onset encephalopathies, which often present with seizures that are poorly controlled by conventional antiepileptic drugs (AEDs). Previous cross-sectional studies have found specific neurologic antibodies in a small proportion of people with established epilepsy, but these investigations have seldom included patients with recent diagnosis. METHODS: We screened two large epilepsy cohorts to investigate the prevalence of multiple autoantibodies in adult patients with either established or newly diagnosed, untreated epilepsy. KEY FINDINGS: Eleven percent of patients had antibodies to one or more antigen: voltage-gated potassium channel (VGKC) complex proteins (5%), glycine receptors (3%), and glutamic acid decarboxylase (GAD) and N-methyl-D-aspartate (NMDA) receptors (1.7% each). There was no difference in the prevalence of antibodies, individually or collectively, between patients with established and newly diagnosed epilepsy or with generalized or focal epilepsy. There was, however, a significantly higher prevalence of positive antibody titers in patients with focal epilepsy of unknown cause than in those with structural/metabolic focal epilepsy (14.8% vs. 6.3%; p < 0.02). Newly diagnosed antibody-positive patients were less likely to achieve adequate seizure control with initial treatment than antibody-negative patients, but this difference failed to reach statistical significance. SIGNIFICANCE: The presence of autoantibodies is equally common in newly diagnosed and established epilepsy, it is therefore unlikely to be an epiphenomenon of long-standing refractory seizures.