Cerebellar long-term depression and auto-immune target of auto-antibodies: the concept of LTDpathies

Mol Biomed. 2021 Jan 10;2(1):2. doi: 10.1186/s43556-020-00024-x.


There is general agreement that auto-antibodies against ion channels and synaptic machinery proteins can induce limbic encephalitis. In immune-mediated cerebellar ataxias (IMCAs), various synaptic proteins, such as GAD65, voltage-gated Ca channel (VGCC), metabotropic glutamate receptor type 1 (mGluR1), and glutamate receptor delta (GluR delta) are auto-immune targets. Among them, the pathophysiological mechanisms underlying anti-VGCC, anti-mGluR1, and anti-GluR delta antibodies remain unclear. Despite divergent auto-immune and clinical profiles, these subtypes show common clinical features of good prognosis with no or mild cerebellar atrophy in non-paraneoplastic syndrome. The favorable prognosis reflects functional cerebellar disorders without neuronal death. Interestingly, these autoantigens are all involved in molecular cascades for induction of long-term depression (LTD) of synaptic transmissions between parallel fibers (PFs) and Purkinje cells (PCs), a crucial mechanism of synaptic plasticity in the cerebellum. We suggest that anti-VGCC, anti-mGluR1, and anti-GluR delta Abs-associated cerebellar ataxias share one common pathophysiological mechanism: a deregulation in PF-PC LTD, which results in impairment of restoration or maintenance of the internal model and triggers cerebellar ataxias. The novel concept of LTDpathies could lead to improvements in clinical management and treatment of cerebellar patients who show these antibodies.

Keywords: Anti-GluR delta antibody; Anti-VGCC antibody; Anti-mGluR antibody; Cerebellar ataxias; Immune-mediated cerebellar ataxias; Long-term depression.

Publication types

  • Review