Autoimmune epilepsy

Jeffrey Britton

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contribution

20 Scopus citations


Seizures are a common manifestation of autoimmune limbic encephalitis and multifocal paraneoplastic disorders. Accumulating evidence supports an autoimmune basis for seizures in the absence of syndromic manifestations of encephalitis. The autoimmune epilepsies are immunologically mediated disorders in which recurrent seizures are a primary and persistent clinical feature. When other etiologies have been excluded, an autoimmune etiology is suggested in a patient with epilepsy upon detection of neural autoantibodies and/or the presence of inflammatory changes on cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) or magnetic resonance imaging. In such patients, immunotherapy may be highly effective, depending on the particular autoimmune epilepsy syndrome present. In this chapter, several autoimmune epilepsy syndromes are discussed. First, epilepsies secondary to other primary autoimmune disorders will be discussed, and then those associated with antibodies that are likely to be pathogenic, such as voltage-gated potassium channel-complex and N-methyl-. d-aspartate receptor, gamma-aminobutyric acid A and B receptor antibodies. For each syndrome, the typical clinical, imaging, electroencephaloram, CSF, and serologic features, and pathophysiology and treatment are described. Finally, suggested guidelines for the recognition, evaluation, and treatment of autoimmune epilepsy syndromes are provided.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationAutoimmune Neurology, 2016
EditorsSean J. Pittock, Angela Vincent
Number of pages27
ISBN (Print)9780444634320
StatePublished - 2016

Publication series

NameHandbook of Clinical Neurology
ISSN (Print)0072-9752
ISSN (Electronic)2212-4152


  • Autoimmune encephalitis
  • Autoimmune epilepsy
  • Limbic encephalitis

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Neurology
  • Clinical Neurology


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