Article Text

Findings that shed new light on the possible pathogenesis of a disease or an adverse effect
Epilepsy and cerebellar ataxia associated with anti-glutamic acid decarboxylase antibodies
  1. S Vulliemoz,
  2. G Vanini,
  3. A Truffert,
  4. C Chizzolini,
  5. M Seeck
  1. University Hospital, rue Micheli-du Crest 24, Geneva, 1211, Switzerland
  1. margitta.seeck{at}


Anti-glutamic acid decarboxylase (GAD) antibodies are described in stiff-person syndrome and also in other neurological syndromes, including cerebellar ataxia and epilepsy. This paper reports the case of a patient who had chronic focal epilepsy, upbeat nystagmus and cerebellar ataxia, associated with a polyautoimmune response including anti-GAD antibodies. Both gait and nystagmus improved markedly after immunosuppressive treatment with corticosteroids and azathioprine. After the introduction of benzodiazepines, previously refractory seizures were completely controlled. Anti-GAD antibodies should be actively sought out in pharmacoresistant epilepsy, particularly if other neurological abnormalities are present. Combined treatment with immunosuppressants and γhydroxybutyric acidergic agents may be highly effective.

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  • Competing interests: None.