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Review ARTICLE Provisionally accepted The full-text will be published soon. Notify me

Front. Psychiatry | doi: 10.3389/fpsyt.2019.00440

Autism Associated with Anti-NMDAR Encephalitis: Glutamate-related Therapy

  • 1Mackay Memorial Hospital, Taiwan
  • 2Agricultural Biotechnology Research Center, Academia Sinica, Taiwan
  • 3Tamkang University, Taiwan
  • 4China Medical University, Taiwan

The purpose of this review is to correlate autism with autoimmune dysfunction in the absence of an explanation for the etiology of autism spectrum disorder. Anti-N-methyl-D-aspartate receptor (anti-NMDAR) autoantibody is a typical synaptic protein that can bind to synaptic NMDA glutamate receptors, leading to dysfunctional glutamate neurotransmission in the brain that manifests as psychiatric symptoms (psychosis, hallucinations, and personality changes). Detection of autoantibodies, cytokines, decreased lymphocytes, serum immunoglobulin level imbalance, T-cell mediated immune profile, maternal infection history, and children’s infection history can all be vital biological markers of autoimmune autism. Diagnosing autoimmune encephalitis sooner can increase the effectiveness of curative treatments—such as immune therapy or immune modulatory therapy—that may prevent the long-term consequence of being misdiagnosed with autism spectrum disorder. Glutamate therapy primarily normalizes glutamate neurotransmission and can be a new add-on intervention alongside antipsychotics for treating autoimmune autism.

Keywords: autoimmune autism, glutamate-related therapy, anti-NMDAR encephalitis, immune therapy, dysfunctional glutamate neurotransmission

Received: 07 Nov 2018; Accepted: 03 Jun 2019.

Edited by:

Ming D. Li, Zhejiang University, China

Reviewed by:

Alessandro Usiello, Second University of Naples, Italy
Ming D. Li, Zhejiang University, China
Zhongli Yang, Zhejiang University, China  

Copyright: © 2019 Tzang, Chang, Chang and Lane. This is an open-access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License (CC BY). The use, distribution or reproduction in other forums is permitted, provided the original author(s) and the copyright owner(s) are credited and that the original publication in this journal is cited, in accordance with accepted academic practice. No use, distribution or reproduction is permitted which does not comply with these terms.

* Correspondence: Dr. Hsien-Yuan Lane, China Medical University, Taichung City, 40402, Taiwan,