The validity of atypical psychosis diagnostic criteria to detect anti-NMDA receptor encephalitis with psychiatric symptoms

Kenji Hinotsu, Chikara Miyaji, Yuji Yada, Hiroki Kawai, Shinji Sakamoto, Yuko Okahisa, Ko Tsutsui, Takashi Kanbayashi, Keiko Tanaka, Soshi Takao, Yoshiki Kishi, Manabu Takaki, Norihito Yamada

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Anti-NMDAR encephalitis has a psychotic presentation that is difficult to distinguish from primary psychosis. An atypical psychosis that is similar to schizophrenia, mood disorder, and epilepsy is unique, and the original diagnostic criteria exist only in Japan. The clinical symptoms and courses of anti-NMDAR encephalitis and atypical psychosis are very similar. We investigated whether the diagnostic criteria of atypical psychosis are useful to increase the detection rate of anti-NMDAR encephalitis with psychiatric symptoms. The presence of anti-NR1/NR2B IgG antibodies in the cerebrospinal fluid of 218 newly admitted inpatients initially diagnosed with schizophrenia (n = 151), mood disorder (n = 47), or epilepsy with psychiatric symptoms (n = 20) was assessed by cell-based assay. Of 218 patients, 123 (36.3 years ± SD 17.2, 69.9 % females) fulfilled the diagnostic criteria of category B for atypical psychosis. All 12 patients (9.8 %, 12/123) with anti-NR1/NR2B IgG antibodies fulfilled category B of atypical psychosis statistically better than the patients without anti-NR1/NR2B IgG antibodies (P = 0.0009). Of the 12 patients with anti-NMDAR antibodies, two did not fulfill either criteria of catatonia (DSM-5) or Graus' diagnostic criteria of anti-NMDAR encephalitis during the time course, and 11 patients showed good prognosis with early immunotherapies. In ROC analysis, abnormal electroencephalogram findings showed the highest sensitivity (0.833) for detection of anti-NR1/NR2B IgG antibodies, and 31.3 % of patients with category B atypical psychosis and abnormal electroencephalogram findings had anti-NMDAR antibodies. Lumbar puncture and detection of anti-NMDAR antibodies should be considered for patients who fulfill atypical psychosis diagnosis criteria with an abnormal electroencephalogram.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)292-299
Number of pages8
JournalSchizophrenia Research
Publication statusPublished - Oct 2022


  • Anti-NMDAR encephalitis
  • Atypical psychosis
  • Electroencephalogram
  • Epilepsy
  • Mood disorder
  • Schizophrenia

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Psychiatry and Mental health
  • Biological Psychiatry


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