Case Report| Volume 44, ISSUE 9, P630-634, October 2022

Fatal X-linked lymphoproliferative disease type 1-associated limbic encephalitis with positive anti-alpha-amino-3-hydroxy-5-methyl-4-isoxazolepropionic acid receptor antibody



      X-linked lymphoproliferative disease type 1 (XLP1) is a rare monogenic immune dysregulation disorder caused by a deficiency of a signaling lymphocyte activation molecule-associated protein (SAP). While many patients with XLP1 present with fatal hemophagocytic lymphohistiocytosis upon Epstein Barr virus (EBV) infection, a small fraction present with limbic encephalitis in the absence of EBV infection. It is poorly understood why SAP deficiency may cause limbic encephalitis in XLP1.


      A 12-year-old boy presented with seizures, changes in personality, memory loss, and cognitive deficits during treatment for interstitial pneumonia. A diagnosis of limbic encephalitis was made. Despite treatment against CD8+ T cell-mediated autoimmunity with intravenous methylprednisolone, dexamethasone, intravenous immunoglobulin, plasma exchange, cyclosporine, weekly etoposide, mycophenolate mofetil, and adalimumab, encephalitis progressed until the patient died after one month of treatment intitiation. Post-mortem genetic testing revealed a de novo SH2D1A truncating mutation. Tests for EBV infection were negative. Initial spinal fluid revealed markedly elevated protein levels, mild pleocytosis, and elevation of two chemokines (C-X-C motif chemokine ligand [CXCL] 10 and CXCL 13). Moreover, initial spinal fluid was tested positive for anti-alpha-amino-3-hydroxy-5-methyl-4-isoxazolepropionic acid receptor (AMPAR) autoantibody.


      In XLP1-associated limbic encephalitis, anti-AMPAR autoantibody production by the dysregulated immune system due to SAP deficiency might be a pathogenic mechanism of central nervous system manifestations. In addition to the standard treatment for XLP1, targeted treatment against B-cell-mediated immunity might be indicated for patients with XLP1-associated limbic encephalitis.


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