ISSN: 2641-2950
Journal of Neurology, Neurological Science and Disorders
Letter to Editor       Open Access      Peer-Reviewed

Acute psychosis in elderly: do not forget the CASPR2 spectrum as a possible cause

André Ricardo Merkle, Marco Antônio Machado Schlindwein, Letícia Caroline Breis and Marcus Vinícius Magno Gonçalves*

Department of Medicine, University of the Region of Joinville, Santa Catarina, Joinville, 89202-207, Brazil
*Corresponding author: Marcus Vinícius Magno Gonçalves, MD, PhD, Department of Medicine, University of the Region of Joinville, Rua Ministro Calogenas, 439, Bucarein, Joinville, Santa Catarina, 89202-207 Brazil, E-mail: or;
Received: 28 March, 2020 | Accepted: 29 May, 2020 | Published: 30 May, 2020

Cite this as

Merkle AR, Machado Schlindwein MA, Breis LC, Magno Gonçalves MV (2020) Acute psychosis in elderly: do not forget the CASPR2 spectrum as a possible cause. J Neurol Neurol Sci Disord 6(1): 008-009. DOI: 10.17352/jnnsd.000037

Antibodies against contactin-associated protein 2 (CASPR2), a protein associated with the Voltage-Gated Potassium Channel Complex (VGKC) [1], represent an emerging cause of some old neurological manifestations; such as Morvan’s and Isaacs’ syndromes, as well as a variety of phenotypes encompassing limbic encephalitis, neuropathic pain, late onset epilepsy and dysautonomia [2,3].

Although the prevalence of anti-neuronal surface antibodies and their impact on clinical practice is not well-established [4-7], they represent an important etiology of autoimmune encephalitis and a curable cause of dementia and acute psychosis [8-10].

In a study by Baumgartner, et al. 34% of the patients with autoimmune encephalitis were initially admitted to the psychiatry department. In addition, psychiatry disturbances represent the second most common presentation of autoimmune encephalitis after seizures [11].

When it comes to anti-CASPR2 psychiatric phenotypes, symptoms tend to present in a progressive manner (5-7 months); mostly with no fluctuations, and a tumor is present in 19% of the patients [2,10]. It affects mostly elderly man (Figure 1) [2,12] and clinical presentation ranges from cognitive decline, sleep disorders, depressive mood, global amnesia - especially when associated with anti-Leucine-rich, glioma inactivated 1 (anti-LGI1) antibodies - and psychotic episodes12. Other symptoms, such as seizures, peripheral nerve symptoms and dysautonomia may appear later in the disease, possibly being misdiagnosed as dementia or psychiatric disease [2].

It is important to highlight that most of the patients with anti-CASPR2 have either normal MRI image or hippocampal atrophy, which holds and association with anti-LGI1 antibodies; and therefore the diagnosis may be challenging when facing a case with this suspected etiology [13].

In conclusion, antibodies against CASPR2 should be remembered as a cause of cognitive imbalance or psychosis, especially in elderly men, even with a normal MRI image. Also, if a tumor is not yet known, it is important to make a screening. Finally, anti-CASPR2 disorders respond well to immunotherapy, but may acquire a poor prognosis, especially when treatment is delayed due a misdiagnosis [12].

Author’s contributions

Performed data acquisition and data analysis as well helping with the writing in the text: André Ricardo Merkle, Letícia Caroline Breis, Marco Antônio Machado Schlindwein.

Made substantial contributions to conception and design of the study, as well as provided technical support: Marcus Vinicius Magno Gonçalves MD PhD.

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© 2020 Merkle AR, et al. This is an open-access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original author and source are credited.