Glutamate receptor autoantibody concentrations in children with chronic post-traumatic headache

Neurosci Behav Physiol. 2007 Oct;37(8):761-4. doi: 10.1007/s11055-007-0079-3.


We report here studies on the levels of autoantibodies (aAb) to AMPA glutamate receptors (GluR1 subunit) and NMDA glutamate receptors (NR2A subunit) in serum from 60 children aged 7-16 years with chronic posttraumatic headache (CPTHA) following mild craniocerebral trauma (CCT). The first group consisted of 48 children who had sustained cerebral concussion (CC), of which 34 had single-episode CC (subgroup 1a) and 14 had repeated CC (subgroup 1). The second group included 12 children with mild cerebral contusions (MCC). Serum glutamate receptor aAb levels were measured six months and one year after trauma. Increased aAb levels were expressed as percentages and were regarded as significant when increases were to 120% of the level seen in healthy children of the same age. The highest levels of aAb to NMDA receptors were seen in children with MCC (165 +/- 34%) and single CC (145 +/- 12.6%). Children with repeated CC had NMDA receptor aAb at normal levels (108 +/- 12.4%). Increases in NMDA receptor aAb were seen during the first year after trauma. Increases in AMPA receptor aAb were seen in children with repeated CC and MCC (150 +/- 16.8% and 167 +/- 31.3%). EEG studies showed that 18% of these children had nonspecific paroxysmal changes and 6% showed epileptiform activity. These results provide evidence that children with post-traumatic headache demonstrated hyperstimulation of glutamate receptors and overdevelopment of the autoimmune process. Increases in serum levels of aAb to NMDA glutamate receptors reflected hypoxic-ischemic brain lesions in children with CPTHA and dictate the need for these children to receive metabolic therapy.

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Autoantibodies / analysis*
  • Cerebrovascular Circulation / physiology
  • Child
  • Chronic Disease
  • Electroencephalography
  • Electrophysiology
  • Epilepsy / etiology
  • Epilepsy / physiopathology
  • Female
  • Head Injuries, Closed / complications
  • Humans
  • Magnetic Resonance Imaging
  • Male
  • Post-Traumatic Headache / immunology*
  • Post-Traumatic Headache / physiopathology
  • Receptors, AMPA / immunology
  • Receptors, Glutamate / immunology*
  • Receptors, N-Methyl-D-Aspartate / immunology


  • Autoantibodies
  • Receptors, AMPA
  • Receptors, Glutamate
  • Receptors, N-Methyl-D-Aspartate