Cytotoxic CD8+ T cells and CD138+ plasma cells prevail in cerebrospinal fluid in non-paraneoplastic cerebellar ataxia with contactin-associated protein-2 antibodies
1 Department of Neurology, Inflammatory Disorders of the Nervous System and Neurooncology, University of Münster, Albert-Schweitzer Campus 1, Münster 48149, Germany
2 Department of Neurology, University of Münster, Albert-Schweitzer Campus 1, Münster 48149, Germany
Journal of Neuroinflammation 2012, 9:160 doi:10.1186/1742-2094-9-160Published: 3 July 2012
The purpose of this paper is to report a patient with otherwise unexplained cerebellar ataxia with serum antibodies against contactin-associated protein-2 (CASPR-2) and provide a detailed description of the composition of cellular infiltrates in the cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) compared to the peripheral blood (PB). CASPR-2 antibodies strongly labeling axons of cerebellar granule neurons have recently been identified in sera from nine patients with otherwise unexplained progressive cerebellar ataxia with mild to severe cerebellar atrophy.
This is a report of a single case.
The study methods used were neurologic examination, magnetic resonance imaging, fluorodeoxyglucose positron emisson tomography, lumbar puncture and multicolor flow-cytometry.
A 23-year-old Caucasian male presented with a two-year history of a progressive cerebellar and brainstem syndrome. Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) showed pronounced cerebellar atrophy, especially of the medial parts of the hemispheres and the vermis. Cerebral fluorodeoxyglucose positron emission tomography (FDG-PET) showed pronounced hypometabolism of the whole cerebellum. CASPR-2 antibodies were detected in the serum but not the CSF, and none of the staging and laboratory assessments revealed other causes of progressive cerebellar degeneration. Interestingly, flow-cytometry of the CSF as compared to the PB showed increased fractions of CD138+ plasma cells as well as human leukocyte antigen (HLA)-DR+ CD8+ T cells suggesting that both B cells and CD8+ T cells were preferentially recruited to and activated within the CSF- (and putatively central nervous system (CNS)-) compartment.
We confirm the association of CASPR-2 serum antibodies with cerebellar ataxia and provide the first evidence for a combined humoral and cellular immune response in this novel antibody-associated inflammatory CNS disease.