Impairment of early neuronal maturation in anti-NMDA-receptor encephalitis

Sojiro Okamoto, Manabu Takaki, Kenji Hinotsu, Hiroki Kawai, Shinji Sakamoto, Yuko Okahisa, Soshi Takao, Ko Tsutsui, Takashi Kanbayashi, Keiko Tanaka, Norihito Yamada

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

2 Citations (Scopus)


Rationale: Adequate immunotherapies for anti-NMDAR encephalitis during pregnancy produce a relatively good clinical outcome for pregnant mothers and their infants, but there are no reports about the future growth of their babies. The damage of anti-NMDAR antibodies to early neuronal development is still unknown. Objectives: Serum or cerebrospinal fluid from one patient with anti-NMDAR encephalitis (the index patient) and one patient with schizophrenia (the control patient) was administered to primary cultures of dissociated rat cortical neurons, and dendritic outgrowth, centrosome elimination, and branching of dendrites were investigated. For rescue experiments, serum of the index patient was replaced with normal culture media after 3 days’ administration of the index patient. Results: Serum and cerebrospinal fluid of the index patient statistically significantly impaired dendritic outgrowth of cultured rat cortical primary neurons. Serum of the index patient also statistically significantly delayed centrosome elimination. Impaired dendritic outgrowth and delayed centrosome elimination were not perfectly rescued by changing to normal culture media. Serum of the index patient also statistically significantly reduced the branching of dendrites. Conclusions: This is the first demonstration of the damage by anti-NMDAR antibodies on early dendritic development in vitro. As a strategy to protect embryonic neurons, our findings may support the efficacy of early immunotherapy for anti-NMDAR encephalitis in pregnancy.

Original languageEnglish
Publication statusAccepted/In press - 2021


  • Anti-NMDAR encephalitis
  • Anti-NR1/NR2B IgG antibodies
  • Centrosome
  • Dendrite
  • Primary culture neurons

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pharmacology


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