Autoimmune-mediated encephalitis and mimics: A neuroimaging review

J Neuroimaging. 2023 Jan;33(1):19-34. doi: 10.1111/jon.13060. Epub 2022 Oct 10.


Autoimmune encephalitis is a category of autoantibody-mediated neurological disorders that often presents a diagnostic challenge due to its variable clinical and imaging findings. The purpose of this image-based review is to provide an overview of the major subtypes of autoimmune encephalitis and their associated autoantibodies, discuss their characteristic clinical and imaging features, and highlight several disease processes that may mimic imaging findings of autoimmune encephalitis. A literature search on autoimmune encephalitis was performed and publications from neuroradiology, neurology, and nuclear medicine literature were included. Cases from our institutional database that best exemplify major imaging features were presented.

Keywords: MRI; autoimmune encephalitis; limbic encephalitis; paraneoplastic syndrome; refractory epilepsy.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Autoantibodies
  • Autoimmune Diseases of the Nervous System* / diagnostic imaging
  • Encephalitis* / diagnostic imaging
  • Humans
  • Limbic Encephalitis* / diagnosis
  • Neuroimaging / methods


  • Autoantibodies

Supplementary concepts

  • Hashimoto's encephalitis