Increasing evidence indicates that immune system dysfunction affects anti-N-methyl-D-aspartate receptor (NMDAR) encephalitis. This study aims to investigate the relationship between adhesion molecules and the pathophysiology in anti-NMDAR encephalitis. Soluble forms of Intercellular adhesion molecule-1 (sICAM-1), vascular adhesion molecule-1 (sVCAM-1), and L-selectin (sL-selectin), were measured in the CSF and serum of 26 participants with anti-NMDAR encephalitis, 11 patients with schizophrenia and 22 patients with noninflammatory disorders. CSF levels of sICAM-1, sVCAM-1 and sL-selectin were significantly elevated in the anti-NMDAR encephalitis group. sVCAM-1 levels were positively associated with modified Rankin scale score in anti-NMDAR encephalitis patients at the onset and 3-month follow-up.