Anti-NMDA-receptor encephalitis is a severe, treatable and potentially reversible disorder presenting with memory deficits, psychiatric symptoms and seizures. Initially described in young patients with ovarian teratoma, the disease is meanwhile increasingly recognized also in women without tumours, in men and in children. The presence of anti-glutamate receptor (type NMDA) autoantibodies in serum or cerebrospinal fluid is specific for this novel and widely underdiagnosed disorder. Early recognition is crucial since prognosis largely depends on adequate immunotherapy and, in paraneoplastic cases, complete tumour removal. Indirect immunofluorescence using NMDA-type glutamate receptors recombinantly expressed in human cells is a highly competent method for diagnosing anti-NMDA-receptor encephalitis.
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