Normal gut microbiome in NMDA receptor encephalitis.

Julia Herken, Corinna Bang, Malte C Rühlemann, Carsten Finke, Johanna Klag, Andre Franke, Harald Prüss
Year of publication:
Journal title abbreviated:
Neurol Neuroimmunol Neuroinflamm
Journal title long:
Neurology(R) neuroimmunology & neuroinflammation
OBJECTIVE:To determine whether the gut microbiota shows overabundance of commensal bacteria species in patients with anti-NMDA receptor (NMDAR) encephalitis, similar to patients with MS or neuromyelitis optica where they potentially balance pro- and anti-inflammatory immune responses or participate in disease pathogenesis by molecular mimicry. METHODS:Intestinal microbiota was characterized in patients with NMDAR encephalitis (n = 23, mean age: 34 ± 12.7 years; 21 females) and age/sex/environment-matched healthy controls (n = 24, 40 ± 14.2 years; 22 females) using stool bacteria 16S rDNA sequencing and classification in operational taxonomic units (OTUs). Statistical analyses focused on intraindividual and interindividual bacterial diversity and identification of differentially abundant taxa. RESULTS:Patients with NMDAR encephalitis and controls had similar microbiome profiles of the gut microbiota regarding intraindividual bacterial diversity, OTU distribution, ratio between regional and local species diversity when testing all OTUs, and genera with a relative abundance greater than 0.5%. Similarly, the subgroup of NMDAR encephalitis patients with an ovarian teratoma (n = 3) showed no differences in microbiome variation compared with controls. Patients in the acute encephalitis stage (n = 8) showed significant differences in the numbers of Clostridium XVIII, Clostridium IV, Oscillibacter, Prevotella, and Blautia; however, significance was lost after correction for multiple testing. CONCLUSION:Patients with NMDAR encephalitis and controls both had a normal gut microbiome. The lack of overabundance of certain bacterial species in patients suggests that microbiome changes are no major contributors to the pathogenesis, disease course, or prognosis in NMDAR encephalitis. Despite the small sample size and heterogeneous groups, findings indicate differences to other neuroimmunologic diseases.