Anti-GAD epileptic encephalopathy in a toddler with Parry-Romberg syndrome

Stefano Sotgiu, Alessandro Consolaro, Susanna Casellato, Francesc Graus, Paolo Picco

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Parry-Romberg syndrome (PRS) is a progressive facial hemiatrophy often associated with severe epilepsy. Although an immune-mediated vasculitic pathogenesis is widely assumed, no CNS-specific autoantibody has been described so far. A 2-year-old boy was admitted for a status epilepticus preceded by fever, restlessness, insomnia, and left facial rash. Cerebrospinal fluid was positive for glutamic acid decarboxylase (GAD)-antibodies. Brain MRI revealed FLAIR hyperintensities on left mediotemporal areas. He was successfully treated with intravenous methylprednisolone. One month later, seizures and facial rash reappeared and steroids were satisfactorily repeated. However, left hemifacial rash reappeared 5 months later, slowly followed by sclerotic skin lesions on frontal scalp and hemifacial sub-atrophy, leading to a diagnosis of PRS. Three years later, and despite chronic immunosuppression, new MRI lesions on left white matter are seen and left hemifacial atrophy has progressed. For the first time, we describe GAD autoantibodies in a PRS patient with epileptic encephalopathy. Epileptic syndromes with GAD autoantibodies are frequently described though with a questionable pathogenic significance. Given the clinical and MRI similarities of PRS with both Morphea and Rasmussen's encephalitis, we suggest that, in our patient, the initial facial skin vasculitis spread into CNS vessels through perforating arteries, inducing neuronal MHC-class I presentation of GAD epitopes, ultimately causing CD8-mediated neuronal cytotoxicity and the epileptic encephalopathy. GAD autoantibodies might represent the missing pathophysiological link between PRS and neuropsychiatric manifestations.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)705-708
Number of pages4
JournalNeurol. Sci.
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - Mar 2020


  • Autoantibodies/immunology
  • Child, Preschool
  • Epilepsy/diagnosis
  • Facial Hemiatrophy/diagnosis
  • Glutamate Decarboxylase/immunology
  • Humans
  • Magnetic Resonance Imaging
  • Male


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