Annals of Indian Academy of Neurology
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Year : 2022  |  Volume : 25  |  Issue : 6  |  Page : 1122-1129

FDG-PET in autoimmune encephalitis: Utility, pattern of abnormalities, and correlation with autoantibodies

1 Department of Neurology, National Institute of Mental Health and Neurosciences (NIMHANS), Bengaluru, Karnataka, India
2 Department of Neuroimaging and Interventional Neuroradiology (NIIR), National Institute of Mental Health and Neurosciences (NIMHANS), Bengaluru, Karnataka, India
3 Department of Neuropathology, National Institute of Mental Health and Neurosciences (NIMHANS), Bengaluru, Karnataka, India

Correspondence Address:
M Netravathi
Department of Neurology, National Institute of Mental Health and Neurosciences, Bengaluru - 560029, Karnataka
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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None

DOI: 10.4103/aian.aian_645_22

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Background: Fluorodeoxyglucose-positron emission tomography (FDG-PET) in autoimmune encephalitis (AE) as an adjunctive investigation helps in characterizing the type of AE based on characteristic metabolic patterns. Objectives: We aimed to study the following: (i) the sensitivity of FDG-PET in the diagnosis of AE, (ii) describe abnormal patterns of metabolism of various subtypes of AE, and (iii) correlate serum serology with FDG-PET abnormalities. Materials and Methods: This study was conducted at a tertiary university hospital in South India. The demographic profile, clinical features, and investigations (FDG-PET, magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) brain, electroencephalography (EEG), cerebrospinal fluid (CSF)) were reviewed. The nuclear medicine physician performed blinded qualitative visual and semi-quantitative analysis of the 18-FDG-PET (fluorine 18-FDG-PET) findings of these patients. Results: Twenty-nine (M:F: 11:18) patients were recruited; among them, 22 (75.8%) patients had autoimmune antibodies; the rest seven (24.1%) patients were seronegative. Among the 22 seropositive patients, 9 (31%) patients were positive for anti-N-methyl-D-aspartate receptor (NMDAR), 8 (28%) for anti-leucine-rich glioma inactivated 1 (LGI-1), 4 (14%) for anti-contactin-associated protein 2 (CASPR2), 1 (3%) for anti-glutamic acid decarboxylase (GAD)-65, and rest 7 (24%) patients were seronegative. The patterns most commonly observed were isolated hypermetabolism (41%), isolated hypometabolism (41%), and combined hypermetabolism with hypometabolism (18%). The fraction of abnormalities was lower for MRI (17/22; 73.9%) than for FDG-PET (27/29; 93.1%). FDG-PET correlated with serology in 10 (34%) cases [NMDAR: 6 (60%) and LGI-1: 4 (40%)]. The sensitivity of FDG-PET was 94.1% when compared with MRI. Discussion and Conclusion: FDG-PET correlated with serology in only one-third of patients. The most consistent pattern in both seropositive and seronegative AE is characterized by parieto-occipital hypometabolism and fronto-temporal with basal ganglia hypermetabolism.

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