Neuroimmunology Program - IDIBAPS

Research areas

Pathogenesis of Immune-mediated Neurological Disorders

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Our work focuses on a group of disorders localized at the intersection of autoimmunity, cancer and synaptic proteins. This work includes the description of new syndromes such as Autoimmune Encephalitis and the associated immunologic mechanisms, the characterization of the associated antigens and the development of diagnostic tests and therapeutic strategies. To date, our studies have identified 17 autoantigens and generated several diagnostic tests, some that are used world-wide.

In the last 5 years we have discovered a new category of autoimmune processes that result in alterations of memory, behavior, cognition and occasionally psychosis. These processes are associated with autoimmune responses characterized by antibodies against synaptic receptors and proteins, including glutamate (NMDA, AMPA) and GABA(B) receptors, and synaptic proteins related to epilepsy (LGI1, Caspr2) among others. Once an antigen is identified, our studies focus on determining the cellular and molecular mechanisms by which the antibodies alter the function of the synaptic receptors and proteins and produce symptoms.

The results of these studies have impacted multiple medical disciplines and the neurosciences offering a link between immunologic processes and neuronal function related to memory, behavior, psychosis, epilepsy and neuronal degeneration.

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