Hashimoto encephalopathy: literature review

Acta Neurol Scand. 2017 Mar;135(3):285-290. doi: 10.1111/ane.12618. Epub 2016 Jun 20.


Hashimoto encephalopathy (HE) presents as an encephalopathy without central nervous system infection or tumor. HE is associated with autoimmune thyroiditis and is thus considered to be an autoimmune disorder. The prevalence of HE is low, but death and status epilepticus have been reported. HE manifests with a wide range of symptoms that include behavioral changes and confusion. Elevated thyroid antibodies are present in the majority of cases and are required for the diagnosis of HE. Normal brain MRI findings are found in the majority of patients diagnosed with HE. The most consistent CSF abnormality noted in HE patients is the presence of elevated protein. Most HE patients respond well to steroid therapy. Clinical improvements are also observed with IV immunoglobulin and plasmapheresis. In conclusion, it is now generally accepted that the diagnosis of HE must include encephalopathy characterized by cognitive impairment associated with psychiatric features, such as hallucinations, delusions, and paranoia. Autoimmune encephalitis and prion disease should be considered in the differential diagnosis due to the similarity of the clinical features of these conditions to those of HE.

Keywords: Hashimoto encephalopathy; metabolic disorders; neuroendocrinology.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Encephalitis* / drug therapy
  • Encephalitis* / immunology
  • Encephalitis* / physiopathology
  • Hashimoto Disease* / drug therapy
  • Hashimoto Disease* / immunology
  • Hashimoto Disease* / physiopathology
  • Humans

Supplementary concepts

  • Hashimoto's encephalitis