No association between Parkinson disease and autoantibodies against NMDA-type glutamate receptors

Franziska Hopfner, Stefanie H. Müller, Dagmar Steppat, Joanna Miller, Nele Schmidt, Klaus Peter Wandinger, Frank Leypoldt, Daniela Berg, Andre Franke, Wolfgang Lieb, Lukas Tittmann, Monika Balzer-Geldsetzer, Simon Baudrexel, Richard Dodel, Ruediger Hilker-Roggendorf, Elke Kalbe, Jan Kassubek, Thomas Klockgether, Inga Liepelt-Scarfone, Brit MollenhauerPetra Neuser, Kathrin Reetz, Oliver Riedel, Claudia Schulte, Jörg B. Schulz, Annika Spottke, Alexander Storch, Claudia Trenkwalder, Hans Ulrich Wittchen, Karsten Witt, Ullrich Wüllner, Günther Deuschl, Gregor Kuhlenbäumer*

*Corresponding author for this work
5 Citations (Scopus)


Background: IgG-class autoantibodies to N-Methyl-D-Aspartate (NMDA)-type glutamate receptors define a novel entity of autoimmune encephalitis. Studies examining the prevalence of NMDA IgA/IgM antibodies in patients with Parkinson disease with/without dementia produced conflicting results. We measured NMDA antibodies in a large, well phenotyped sample of Parkinson patients without and with cognitive impairment (n = 296) and controls (n = 295) free of neuropsychiatric disease. Detailed phenotyping and large numbers allowed statistically meaningful correlation of antibody status with diagnostic subgroups as well as quantitative indicators of disease severity and cognitive impairment. Methods: NMDA antibodies were analysed in the serum of patients and controls using well established validated assays. We used anti-NMDA antibody positivity as the main independent variable and correlated it with disease status and phenotypic characteristics. Results: The frequency of NMDA IgA/IgM antibodies was lower in Parkinson patients (13%) than in controls (22%) and higher than in previous studies in both groups. NMDA IgA/IgM antibodies were neither significantly associated with diagnostic subclasses of Parkinson disease according to cognitive impairment, nor with quantitative indicators of disease severity and cognitive impairment. A positive NMDA antibody status was positively correlated with age in controls but not in Parkinson patients. Conclusion: It is unlikely albeit not impossible that NMDA antibodies play a significant role in the pathogenesis or progression of Parkinson disease e.g. to Parkinson disease with dementia, while NMDA IgG antibodies define a separate disease of its own.

Original languageEnglish
Article number11
JournalTranslational Neurodegeneration
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 03.04.2019

Research Areas and Centers

  • Academic Focus: Center for Infection and Inflammation Research (ZIEL)


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