Antibodies to CRMP3-4 associated with limbic encephalitis and thymoma

Clin Exp Immunol. 2007 Jul;149(1):16-22. doi: 10.1111/j.1365-2249.2007.03379.x. Epub 2007 Apr 2.


We present a case with subacute limbic encephalitis (LE) and thymoma. Neither classical onconeural antibodies nor antibodies to voltage gated potassium channels (VGKC) were detected, but the serum was positive for anti-glutamic acid decarboxylase (GAD). The patient serum also stained synaptic boutons of pyramidal cells and nuclei of granule cells of rat hippocampus. The objective of the study was to identify new antibodies associated with LE. Screening a cDNA expression library identified collapsin response mediator protein 3 (CRMP3), a protein involved in neurite outgrowth. The serum also reacted with both CRMP3 and CRMP4 by Western blot. Similar binding pattern of hippocampal granule cells was obtained with the patient serum and rabbit anti-serum against CRMP1-4. The CRMP1-4 antibodies stained neuronal nuclei of a biopsy from the patient's temporal lobe, but CRMP1-4 expression in thymoma could only be detected by immunoblotting. Absorption studies with recombinant GAD failed to abolish the staining of the hippocampal granule cells. Our findings illustrate that CRMP3-4 antibodies can be associated with LE and thymoma. This has previously been associated with CRMP5.

Publication types

  • Case Reports
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Autoantibodies / analysis*
  • Blotting, Western
  • Cells, Cultured
  • DNA, Complementary / genetics
  • Gene Library
  • Hippocampus / immunology
  • Humans
  • Limbic Encephalitis / etiology*
  • Limbic Encephalitis / immunology
  • Magnetic Resonance Imaging
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Muscle Proteins / immunology*
  • Neurons / immunology
  • Paraneoplastic Syndromes / etiology
  • Paraneoplastic Syndromes / immunology
  • Rats
  • Temporal Lobe / immunology
  • Thymoma / complications*
  • Thymus Neoplasms / complications*


  • Autoantibodies
  • DNA, Complementary
  • DPYSL3 protein, human
  • Muscle Proteins