Skip to Main content Skip to Navigation

Autoimmune neurological syndromes with anti- CASPR2 antibodies : clinical, immunological and genetic characterization

Abstract : Antibodies against CASPR2 (Contactin-2 Associated Protein), a neuroglial cell-adhesion protein, have been described in at least three neurological syndromes: autoimmune limbic encephalitis, acquired neuromyotonia (or Isaacs' syndrome) and Morvan syndrome. However, the clinical phenotype associated with anti-CASPR2 antibodies is not yet completely understood. In addition, some authors consider that instead of specific syndromes, anti-CASPR2 antibodies associate with a set of core symptoms that combine randomly in the patients. Last, the pathophysiologic factors underpinning clinical variability in the anti-CASPR2 antibodies patients are unknown. In this PhD project, we use a nationwide, retrospective cohort of anti-CASPR2 antibodies patients, in order to address the issue of the clinical characterization of anti-CASPR2 antibodies patients. We aimed at describing the clinical presentation of CASPR2 encephalitis and Morvan syndrome, studying the outcomes of CASPR2 encephalitis, and analyzing the repartition of the patients' symptoms in order to assess if the symptoms are distributed randomly or if instead they form distinct clinical patterns. The present PhD project is divided into three studies. In the first study, we analyze clinical presentations and outcomes of anti-CASPR2 antibodies patients with limbic encephalitis. We observe that most patients were males from 50 to 75 years old, and frequently had extra-limbic symptoms, such as cerebellar ataxia. In addition, response to immunotherapy was good, even though 25% of the patients did not return to baseline and were left with residual symptoms, including cognitive disturbances, epilepsy, and cerebellar ataxia. In the second study, we describe the first reported cases of autoimmune episodic ataxia, a novel symptom that so far has been found only in anti-CASPR2 antibody associated autoimmune limbic encephalitis patients. It consists in transient episodes of paroxysmal ataxia, and is reminiscent of hereditary episodic ataxia. Interestingly, we found in two patients rare variants of CACNA1A and KCNA1, two genes involved in the main types of hereditary episodic ataxia. While the impact of these variants on ion channel functions is unknown, it raises the question of the role of the genetic background in phenotype determination in anti-CASPR2 antibodies patients. In the third study, we use a statistical cluster analysis to assess anti-CASPR2 antibodies patients' symptoms combinations. We found that the symptoms do not form random combinations, but that instead clinical patterns can be identified, which correspond to patients with limbic encephalitis, Morvan syndrome, and neuromyotonia. In addition, we confirm the expansive clinical presentation of limbic encephalitis, since more than a third of the patients had non-limbic symptoms such as cerebellar ataxia, dysautonomia, weight loss, and movement disorders. Notably, less than ten percent of the patients had a combination of neuromyotonia and limbic symptoms. Finally, the Morvan syndrome patients had severe peripheral nerve hyperexcitability features, severe dysautonomia, severe insomnia, weight loss, and frequently had a malignant thymoma. This clinical classification into three specific syndromes is supported by differences in term of autoantibody specificities, as limbic encephalitis patients tended to have higher anti-CASPR2 antibodies levels and were more frequently cerebrospinal fluid-positive, and by the genetic background, since the Morvan syndrome patients did not have the HLA DRB1*1101 association that is found in limbic encephalitis patients. In conclusion, the present PhD project supports the view that anti-CASPR2 antibodies patients can be classified into three specific syndromes, autoimmune limbic encephalitis, neuromyotonia, and Morvan syndrome. Differences in etiopathogeny likely account for the clinical variability observed in anti-CASPR2 antibodies patients
Document type :
Complete list of metadata

Cited literature [178 references]  Display  Hide  Download
Contributor : Abes Star :  Contact
Submitted on : Tuesday, March 3, 2020 - 4:41:09 PM
Last modification on : Wednesday, March 4, 2020 - 1:34:55 AM
Long-term archiving on: : Thursday, June 4, 2020 - 5:27:37 PM


Version validated by the jury (STAR)


  • HAL Id : tel-02497489, version 1



Bastien Joubert. Autoimmune neurological syndromes with anti- CASPR2 antibodies : clinical, immunological and genetic characterization. Neurons and Cognition [q-bio.NC]. Université de Lyon, 2019. English. ⟨NNT : 2019LYSE1283⟩. ⟨tel-02497489⟩



Record views


Files downloads