Anti-N-methyl-D-aspartate receptor encephalitis with concurrent human herpes virus-6A deoxyribonucleic acid detection: An autopsy case

Sho Shimohama, Takahiro Iizuka, Tsubasa Takizawa, Narumi Watanabe, Toshiki Tezuka, Kosuke Matsuda, Kazuhiro Yamanoi, Naomi Kanazawa, Yoshiki Kawamura, Tetsushi Yoshikawa, Tadaki Suzuki, Masaki Takao, Jin Nakahara, Yoshikane Izawa

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


We report an autopsy case of anti-N-methyl-D-aspartate (NMDA) receptor (NMDAR) encephalitis with concurrent human herpes virus-6 (HHV-6) A deoxyribonucleic acid (DNA) detection in cerebrospinal fluid (CSF). A 38-year-old previously healthy Japanese man presented with a generalized seizure. Brain magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) findings were unremarkable, but CSF revealed pleocytosis. On Day 11, HHV-6 DNA was detected in CSF, and IgG antibodies against the NR1 subunit of the NMDAR (GluN1) were subsequently detected. Since HHV-6 encephalitis was initially suspected, the patient was treated with foscarnet and ganciclovir, but the HHV-6A copy number increased from 200 (Day 22) to 2000 copies/mL (Day 47), and the therapy was ineffective. As typical symptoms of anti-NMDAR encephalitis developed, we changed the patient's treatment to combat anti-NMDAR encephalitis. He was repeatedly treated with first-line immunotherapy, and GluN1 antibody titer decreased. He was not treated with second-line immunotherapy because of recurrent infections; he died on Day 310. Postmortem examinations did not show systemic tumors. Microscopic examination of the brain revealed only severe neuronal rarefaction in the hippocampal cornu ammonis (CA) 3–4 areas with gliosis. Early initiation of aggressive immunotherapy may be required in a refractory case of anti-NMDAR encephalitis, even with HHV-6A DNA detection, because the significance of this concurrent detection in autoimmune encephalitis remains unclear.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)257-261
Number of pages5
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 2023 Jun


  • N-methyl-d-aspartate (NMDA)
  • autoimmune diseases
  • encephalitis
  • human herpes virus-6 (HHV-6)
  • neuropathology

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pathology and Forensic Medicine
  • Clinical Neurology


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