Nodding syndrome in Tanzania may not be associated with circulating anti-NMDA- and anti-VGKC receptor antibodies or decreased pyridoxal phosphate serum levels-a pilot study
Background: Nodding syndrome (NS) is a seemingly progressive epilepsy disorder of unknown underlying cause. We investigated association of pyridoxal-phosphate serum levels and occurrence of anti-neuronal antibodies against N-methyl-D-aspartate (NMDA) receptor and voltage gated potassium channel (VGKC) complex in NS patients.
Methods: Sera of a Tanzanian cohort of epilepsy and NS patients and community controls were tested for the presence of anti-NMDA-receptor and anti-VGKC complex antibodies by indirect immunofluorescence assay. Furthermore pyridoxal-phosphate levels were measured.
Results: Auto-antibodies against NMDA receptor or VGKC (LG1 or Caspr2) complex were not detected in sera of patients suffering from NS (n=6), NS plus other seizure types (n=16), primary generalized epilepsy (n=1) and community controls without epilepsy (n=7). Median Pyridoxal-phosphate levels in patients with NS compared to patients with primary generalized seizures and community controls were not significantly different. However, these median pyridoxal-phosphate levels are significantly lower compared to the range considered normal in Europeans.
Conclusions: In this pilot study NS was not associated with serum anti-NMDA receptor or anti-VGKC complex antibodies and no association to pyridoxal-phosphate serum levels was found.
Key words: nodding syndrome, epilepsy, anti-neuronal antibodies, pyridoxal-phosphate