N-methyl-d-aspartate (NMDA) receptor antibodies encephalitis mimicking an autistic regression

Yael Hacohen, Sukhvir Wright, Jonathan Gadian, Angela Vincent, Ming Lim*, Evangeline Wassmer, Jean Pierre Lin

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Expressive dysphasia and mutism are common clinical features in children and adults with N-methyl-d-aspartate receptor antibodies (NMDAR-Ab) encephalitis, and are likely to result from NMDAR hypofunction. A prodromal loss of social and communication skills can typify that of an autistic regression, particularly when presenting under the age of 3 years. Here we describe two toddlers who presented with developmental regression, particularly of their social communication skills, mimicking an autistic regression, who were found to have NMDAR-Ab in the serum and cerebrospinal fluid. Although both patients had some other neurological features, they were subtle, which resulted in delayed diagnosis of NMDAR-Ab encephalitis. Importantly, immunotherapy was beneficial in both patients, with significant improvement of their language skills and behaviour.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1092-1094
Number of pages3
JournalDevelopmental Medicine and Child Neurology
Issue number10
Early online date3 Jun 2016
Publication statusPublished - 1 Oct 2016


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