Objective: We previously reported an unexpectedly high seroprevalence (~10%) of N-methyl-D-aspartate-receptor subunit-NR1 (NMDAR1) autoantibodies (AB) in healthy and neuropsychiatrically ill subjects (N = 2,817). This finding challenges an unambiguous causal relationship of serum AB with brain disease. To test whether similar results would be obtained for other brain antigen-directed AB previously connected with pathological conditions, we systematically screened serum samples of 4,236 individuals.
Methods: Serum samples of healthy (n = 1,703) versus neuropsychiatrically ill subjects (schizophrenia, affective disorders, stroke, Parkinson disease, amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, personality disorder; total n = 2,533) were tested. For analysis based on indirect immunofluorescence, we used biochip mosaics of frozen brain sections (rat, monkey) and transfected HEK293 cells expressing respective recombinant target antigens.
Results: Seroprevalence of all screened AB was comparable in healthy and ill individuals. None of them, however, reached the abundance of NMDAR1 AB (again ~10%; immunoglobulin [Ig] G ~1%). Appreciable frequency was noted for AB against amphiphysin (2.0%), ARHGAP26 (1.3%), CASPR2 (0.9%), MOG (0.8%), GAD65 (0.5%), Ma2 (0.5%), Yo (0.4%), and Ma1 (0.4%), with titers and Ig class distribution similar among groups. All other AB were found in ≤0.1% of individuals (anti-AMPAR-1/2, AQP4, CV2, Tr/DNER, DPPX-IF1, GABAR-B1/B2, GAD67, GLRA1b, GRM1, GRM5, Hu, LGl1, recoverin, Ri, ZIC4). The predominant Ig class depended on antigen location, with intracellular epitopes predisposing to IgG (chi-square = 218.91, p = 2.8 × 10(-48) ).
Interpretation: To conclude, the brain antigen-directed AB tested here are comparably detectable in healthy subjects and the disease groups studied here, thus questioning an upfront pathological role of these serum AB.
© 2014 American Neurological Association.