Anti-N-Methyl-D-Aspartate Receptor Encephalitis in Psychiatry

Acta Med Okayama. 2019 Jun;73(3):189-195. doi: 10.18926/AMO/56860.


Anti-N-methyl-D-aspartate receptor (NMDAR) encephalitis is a recently-discovered autoimmune disorder in which antibodies target NMDAR in the brain. The number of reported cases of anti-NMDAR encephalitis has increased rapidly. Anti-NMDAR encephalitis can be mistakenly diagnosed as psychiatric disorders because many patients present with prominent psychiatric symptoms and visit psychiatric institutions first. Thus, psychiatrists should cultivate a better understanding of anti-NMDAR encephalitis. In this review, we present the mechanisms, epidemiology, symptoms and clinical course, diagnostic tests, treatment and outcomes of patients with anti-NMDAR encephalitis. Furthermore, we discuss the diversity of clinical spectra of anti-NMDAR encephalitis, and demonstrate a differential diagnosis of psychiatric disease from the perspective of psychiatry.

Keywords: NMDAR; encephalitis; mood disorder; psychiatric symptom; schizophrenia.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Anti-N-Methyl-D-Aspartate Receptor Encephalitis / diagnosis
  • Anti-N-Methyl-D-Aspartate Receptor Encephalitis / epidemiology
  • Anti-N-Methyl-D-Aspartate Receptor Encephalitis / therapy*
  • Diagnosis, Differential
  • Humans
  • Mood Disorders / diagnosis