Late relapse of anti-N-methyl-d-aspartate receptor encephalitis with amusia and transiently reduced uptake in 123I-iomazenil single-photon emission computed tomography



      Anti-N-methyl-d-aspartate receptor (NMDAR) encephalitis has a high relapse rate at approximately 10–20%. Most relapses occur within 2 years from onset, and 5 years after onset is rare. We report a case of anti-NMDAR encephalitis relapse with amusia 10 years after the initial encephalitis and discuss the usefulness of 123I-iomazenil single-photon emission computerized tomography (IMZ-SPECT) for its diagnosis.


      A 13-year-old left-handed girl presented with a depressed level of consciousness and focal to bilateral tonic-clonic seizures. Cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) analysis showed a mildly increased white blood cell count, elevated neopterin levels, and positive oligoclonal bands. Brain MRI was normal. IMZ-SPECT revealed reduced uptake in the right frontoparietal region. She received intravenous pulse methylprednisolone (IVMP) and high-dose intravenous immunoglobulin for autoimmune encephalitis; her symptoms resolved without neurological deficits. At 23 years old, she had mild right-sided numbness, dysarthria, amusia, and tonic-clonic seizures. Although the CSF analysis and brain MRI were normal, IMZ-SPECT revealed reduced uptake, indicating a relapse of encephalitis. IVMP administration resolved the symptoms. After discharge, the initial and relapse CSF analysis revealed anti-NMDAR antibodies.


      An anti-NMDAR encephalitis relapse 10 years after onset has never been reported. IMZ-SPECT may help in the diagnosis of anti-NMDAR encephalitis.


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