Innate Immunity in the Central Nervous System: A Missing Piece of the Autoimmune Encephalitis Puzzle?

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The autoimmune encephalitides are a group of autoimmune conditions targeting the central nervous system and causing severe clinical symptoms including drug-resistant seizures, cognitive dysfunction and psychiatric disturbance. Although these disorders appear to be antibody mediated, the role of innate immune responses needs further clarification. Infiltrating monocytes and microglial proliferation at the site of pathology could contribute to the pathogenesis of the disease with resultant blood brain barrier dysfunction, and subsequent activation of adaptive immune response. Both innate and adaptive immune cells can produce pro-inflammatory molecules which can perpetuate ongoing neuroinflammation and drive ongoing seizure activity. Ultimately neurodegenerative changes can ensue with resultant long-term neurological sequelae that can impact on ongoing patient morbidity and quality of life, providing a potential target for future translational research.

Original languageEnglish
Article number2066
Number of pages14
JournalFrontiers in Immunology
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 2019


  • autoimmune encephalitis
  • blood brain barrier
  • epilepsy
  • innate immunity
  • microglia
  • monocytes
  • neuroimmunology

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