GAD65 autoantibody characteristics in patients with co-occurring type 1 diabetes and epilepsy may help identify underlying epilepsy etiologies

Suvi Liimatainen, Jerome Honnorat, Sean J. Pittock, Andrew McKeon, Mario Manto, Jared R. Radtke, Christiane S. Hampe

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

12 Scopus citations


Background: Autoantibodies against the smaller isoform of glutamate decarboxylase (GAD65Ab) reflect autoimmune etiologies in Type 1 diabetes (T1D) and several neurological disorders, including Stiff Person Syndrome (SPS). GAD65Ab are also reported in cases of epilepsy, indicating an autoimmune component. GAD65Ab in patients with co-occurring T1D, epilepsy or SPS may be part of either autoimmune pathogenesis. To dissect the etiologies associated with GAD65Ab, we analyzed GAD65Ab titer, epitope specificity and enzyme inhibition in GAD65Ab-positive patients diagnosed with epilepsy (n = 28), patients with epilepsy and T1D (n = 10), patients with SPS (n = 20), and patients with T1D (n = 42). Results: GAD65Ab epitope pattern in epilepsy differed from T1D and SPS patients. Four of 10 patients with co-occurring T1D and epilepsy showed GAD65Ab profiles similar to T1D patients, while lacking GAD65Ab characteristics found in GAD65Ab-positive epilepsy patients. One of these patients responded well to anti-epileptic drugs (AEDs), while another patient did not require medication for seizure control. The third patient was refractory due to a diagnosis of meningioma. The response of the remaining patient to AEDs was unknown. GAD65Ab in the remaining six patients with T1D and epilepsy showed profiles similar to those in epilepsy patients. Conclusions: Different autoimmune responses associated with T1D, epilepsy and SPS are reflected by disease-specific GAD65Ab patterns. Moreover, the epileptic etiology in patients diagnosed with both T1D and epilepsy may present two different etiologies regarding their epileptic condition. In one group T1D co-occurs with non-autoimmune epilepsy. In the other group GAD65Ab are part of an autoimmune epileptic condition.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number55
JournalOrphanet Journal of Rare Diseases
Issue number1
StatePublished - Apr 10 2018


  • Autoimmune epilepsy
  • Epitope mapping
  • GAD65 enzyme activity
  • GAD65Ab
  • Type 1 diabetes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Genetics(clinical)
  • Pharmacology (medical)


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