Author(s): Ganor Y, GoldbergStern H, Blank M, Shoenfeld Y, Dobrynina LA
Autoantibodies (Ab's) to the "B" peptide (amino acids 372-395) of glutamate/AMPA receptor subtype 3 (GluR3) are found in serum and cerebrospinal fluid of some patients with different types of epilepsy. Since such anti-GluR3B Ab's can activate and/or kill neurons in vitro and in vivo, they may contribute to epilepsy. To investigate whether anti-GluR3B Ab's may also be relevant to epilepsy when it accompanies some autoimmune-diseases, we tested for these Ab's in patients suffering from epilepsy that accompanies anti-phospholipid syndrome (APS) or Sneddon's syndrome (SNS), both being autoimmune-diseases with frequent neurological complications. We tested 77 pediatric patients whose epilepsy is their main disease; 31 adult patients whose epilepsy accompanies APS (primary or SLE-associated) or SNS; 45 epilepsy-free APS and SNS patients; and 90 healthy controls. Compared to the controls, significantly elevated anti-GluR3B Ab's were found in 22/77 (29%) patients whose epilepsy is their main disease, but in none of the patients whose seizures accompany APS or SNS. Yet, all the APS and SNS patients harbored the characteristic anti-phospholipid Ab's (aPL), directed against cardiolipin and beta2-glycoprotein I, and had lupus anti-coagulant. Thus, anti-GluR3B Ab's are not crossreactive with aPL, and not produced as a non-specific consequence of seizures on the one hand, or autoimmune-diseases on the other. Taken together with new findings accumulated recently in our lab, we suggest that anti-GluR3B Ab's are produced primarily in the periphery due to specific/non-specific "irritation" of the immune system, and that once they reach the brain via a leaky blood-brain barrier they may cause neuronal/glial damage and facilitate the outburst of epilepsy and additional neurological abnormalities. In contrast, the presence of anti-GluR3B Ab's does not seem to increase the probability of developing APS, SNS or the seizures that often accompany these autoimmune-diseases. These findings may have important diagnostic and therapeutic implications.