Management of Autoimmune Encephalitis in a 7-Year-Old Child With CTLA-4 Haploinsufficiency and AMPA Receptor Antibodies: A Case Report

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OBJECTIVES: We report on the therapeutic management of early-onset severe neurologic symptoms in cytotoxic T lymphocyte antigen-4 haploinsufficiency (CTLA-4h) and the presence of antibodies to the α-amino-3-hydroxy-5-methyl-4-isoxazolepropionic acid receptor (AMPAR) as an important finding. METHODS: This is a case report from a Dutch academic hospital. Repeated clinical examinations, repeated brain MRI and extended diagnostics on serum and CSF were performed. We used the CARE checklist. RESULTS: A 7-year-old boy was diagnosed with CTLA-4h based on family screening. On diagnosis, he had mild chronic diarrhea and autism spectrum disorder, but no abnormalities in extensive laboratory screening. Six months later, he presented with sudden-onset autoimmune encephalitis. Repeated brain MRI revealed no abnormalities, but immunohistochemistry analysis on serum and CSF showed the presence of AMPAR antibodies. Treatment was initially focused on immunomodulation and targeted CTLA-4 replacement therapy. Because of the persistent fluctuating cerebellar and neuropsychiatric symptoms and the potential clinical significance of the AMPAR antibodies, treatment was intensified with repetition of first-line immunomodulation and rituximab. This combined therapy resulted in sustained clinical improvement and served as a bridge to curative hematopoietic stem cell transplantation. DISCUSSION: This case illustrates the rare early onset of autoimmune encephalitis and presence of AMPAR antibodies in CTLA-4h. Targeted CTLA-4 replacement therapy resulted in a partial response. However, awaiting its optimal therapeutic effect, refractory CNS symptoms required intensification of immunomodulation. The identification of AMPAR antibodies guided our treatment decisions. CLASSIFICATION OF EVIDENCE: This provides Class IV evidence. It is a single observational study without controls.

Original languageEnglish
Article numbere200254
JournalNeurology(R) neuroimmunology & neuroinflammation
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 10 May 2024

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