Anti-N-methyl-D-aspartate receptor encephalitis is a severe autoimmune disorder characterized by severe psychiatric symptoms, seizures, decreased consciousness, autonomic dysregulation, and dyskinesias. Multifocal subcortical white matter lesions on fluid-attenuated inversion recovery and diffuse weighted images have rarely been reported in previous literature, and serial magnetic resonance imaging changes after plasma exchange have not been presented before.
A previously healthy 24-year-old Chinese woman presented with acute psychiatric symptoms characterized by fear and agitation followed by decreased consciousness, dyskinesias, and seizures. Magnetic resonance imaging revealed hyperintense lesions on fluid-attenuated inversion recovery and diffuse weighted images in bilateral subcortical white matter. Cerebrospinal fluid analysis revealed a mild pleocytosis with lymphocytic predominance. Protein and glucose levels were normal. Aquaporin-4 antibodies in serum and cerebrospinal fluid were negative. Identification of anti-N-methyl-D-aspartate receptor antibodies in serum and cerebrospinal fluid confirmed the diagnosis of anti-N-methyl-D-aspartate receptor encephalitis. She was initially treated with combined intravenous immunoglobulin and methylprednisolone without improvement. Plasma exchange was then initiated with good response; the patient made a full recovery after several cycles of plasma exchange. Repeat magnetic resonance imaging performed 1 month after plasma exchange showed partial resolution of the hyperintense lesions in bilateral subcortical white matter, and follow-up magnetic resonance imaging 2 months after plasma exchange showed complete resolution.
Anti-N-methyl-D-aspartate receptor encephalitis may be concomitant with multifocal subcortical white matter lesions. Such lesions may resolve after appropriate immunotherapy.