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Brain on fire: an imaging-based review of autoimmune encephalitis

Published:December 30, 2021DOI:https://doi.org/10.1016/j.clinimag.2021.12.011

      Highlights

      • Many different autoantibodies are associated with autoimmune encephalitis (AE).
      • Imaging manifestations show overlap amongst the AE's and other disease processes.
      • Typical anatomical distributions due to relative concentration of target proteins
      • Clinical history, serum and CSF antibodies, and EEG support diagnosis

      Abstract

      Autoimmune encephalitis represents an increasingly recognized group of immune-mediated disorders the affect the central nervous system. The purpose of this article is to highlight the characteristic MR imaging findings associated with autoimmune encephalitis, describe the pathophysiology, review antibodies that have been identified and their patterns of CNS involvement, and discuss approaches to management. Familiarity with the imaging and clinical features of autoimmune encephalitis will prompt the radiologist to suggest the diagnosis which can facilitate appropriate management.

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