Anti-leucine-rich glioma-inactivated 1 (LGI1) encephalitis is a rare type of autoimmune encephalitis. A characteristic faciobrachial dystonic seizure (FBDS) is also frequently associated with this disease. Although primarily reported in the adult population, reports of its occurrence in the pediatric population are rare. Here, we describe a case of a 6-year-old girl diagnosed with anti-LGI1 encephalitis that presented with cognitive decline and FBDS.
The girl was referred to a pediatric neurology department for uncontrolled seizures and dyskinesia. She initially presented with a memory deficit, abnormal movement of the limbs and trunk, and ataxia. Her cerebrospinal fluid exam was unremarkable, but her brain MRI showed focal T2 high signal intensity in the left anterior putamen and right caudate nucleus. In addition, there were refractory episodes of brief tonic or dystonic movement of the face and arms that were suggestive of FBDS. She was initially treated with intravenous methylprednisolone and phenobarbital, then given another pulse of methylprednisolone and intravenous immunoglobulin as her symptoms persisted. Tests for neuronal autoantibodies revealed the presence of anti-LGI1 antibodies. Subsequent human leukocyte antigen (HLA) typing resulted in the identification of HLA-DRB1 DR7(*07:01 g) DR9(*09:01 g). Screening for thymoma and other neoplasms showed no signs of a tumor. She was treated with rituximab, tocilizumab, and antiseizure medications, including oxcarbazepine, valproic acid, and lamotrigine. Her FBDS and cognitive symptoms showed substantial improvements.
While it is known that anti-LGI1 encephalitis responds well to immunotherapy, our patient showed an incomplete response, requiring further therapy. This is the first report of a pediatric patient with anti-LGI1 encephalitis treated with tocilizumab.
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Published online: February 27, 2023
Accepted: February 13, 2023
Received in revised form: February 5, 2023
Received: September 14, 2022
Publication stageIn Press Corrected Proof
© 2023 The Japanese Society of Child Neurology. Published by Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.