Factors underlying the development of chronic temporal lobe epilepsy in autoimmune encephalitis

Sara Casciato, Alessandra Morano, Jinane Fattouch, Martina Fanella, Federica Avorio, Mariarita Albini, Luca Manfredi Basili, Emanuele Cerulli Irelli, Alessandro Viganò, Marco De Risi, Liliana G Grammaldo, Alfredo D'Aniello, Addolorata Mascia, Mario Manfredi, Pierpaolo Quarato, Anna Teresa Giallonardo, Giancarlo Di Gennaro, Carlo Di Bonaventura

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


PURPOSE: Limbic encephalitis (LE) is an autoimmune condition characterized by amnestic syndrome, psychiatric features and seizures. Early diagnosis and prompt treatment are crucial to avoid long-term sequelae, including psycho-cognitive deficits and persisting seizures. The aim of our study was to analyze the characteristics of 33 LE patients in order to identify possible prognostic factors associated with the development of chronic epilepsy.

METHODS: This is a retrospective cohort study including adult patients diagnosed with LE in the period 2010-2017 and followed up for ≥12 months. Demographics, seizure semiology, EEG pattern, MRI features, CSF/serum findings were reviewed.

RESULTS: All 33 LE patients (19 M/14F, mean age 61.2 years) presented seizures. Thirty subjects had memory deficits; 22 presented behavioural/mood disorders. Serum and/or CSF auto-antibodies were detected in 12 patients. In 31 subjects brain MRI at onset showed typical alterations involving temporal lobes. All patients received immunotherapy. At follow-up, 13/33 had developed chronic epilepsy; predisposing factors included delay in diagnosis (p = .009), low seizure frequency at onset (p = .02), absence of amnestic syndrome (p = .02) and absence/rarity of inter-ictal epileptic discharges on EEG (p = .06).

CONCLUSIONS: LE with paucisymptomatic electro-clinical presentation seemed to be associated to chronic epilepsy more than LE presenting with definite and severe "limbic syndrome".

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)102-107
Number of pages6
JournalJournal of the Neurological Sciences
Publication statusPublished - Jan 15 2019


  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Cognition Disorders/etiology
  • Cohort Studies
  • Disease Progression
  • Electroencephalography
  • Encephalitis/complications
  • Epilepsy, Temporal Lobe/diagnostic imaging
  • Female
  • Hashimoto Disease/complications
  • Humans
  • Immunotherapy/methods
  • Magnetic Resonance Imaging
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Young Adult


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