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Although acquired autoimmune neuromyotonia (NMT) is associated with voltage-gated potassium channel (VGKC)-complex antibodies, to date there has been no systematic study of autoantibodies to the specific antigens leucine-rich glioma inactivated protein 1 (LGI1), contactin-associated protein 2 (CASPR2), and contactin 2 together with the full clinical syndrome, particularly pain and autonomic and central nervous system involvement.To study the full spectrum of clinical features and serum autoantibodies in patients with NMT, including the effects of pain on quality of life.A cohort study of clinical features and serologic testing in 38 patients with electrophysiologically-confirmed NMT, reviewed clinically between February 2007 and August 2009, in the Universities of Sydney and Kagoshima and followed up across 2 to 4 years. Association of NMT with quality of life was researched in an independent, patient-led, online pain survey conducted from April 2012 to May 2012. Serologic analyses were performed in 2012, and final data analysis was performed in 2016.Clinical data and scores on the modified Rankin Scale (mRS), which measures disability on a range of 0 to 6, with 0 indicating normal and 6 indicating death, before and after treatments were combined with CASPR2, LGI1, and contactin 2 antibody status.Among the 38-person NMT cohort, 25 (65.8%) were male and the median (range) age was 55 (12-85) years. Twenty-three (60.5%) were Japanese and 15 (39.5%) were of white race/ethnicity. Symptomatic treatments (mainly antiepileptic drugs) were used in most patients with mild disease (12 patients with mRS <3), whereas immunotherapies were successful in most patients with mRS scores greater than 2. Autoantibodies to VGKC-complex antigens (17 patients [45%]), bound to CASPR2 (5 [13%]), contactin 2 (5 patients, 1 with CASPR2 [13%]), LGI1 (2 [5%]), or both LGI1 and CASPR2 (6 [16%]). The last group of 6 patients had high mRS scores (mean [SD], 3.8 [1.7]), thymoma (4 patients), pain (5 patients), autonomic (6 patients) and sleep (5 patients) disturbance, suggesting Morvan syndrome. The 56 responders to the independent patient-led survey reported pain that could be severe, anatomically widespread, and that often resulted in unemployment, domestic problems, and poor quality of life.The cohort study detailed underrecognized aspects of the clinical and serologic spectrum of NMT. The heterogeneity of clinical features and of specific antibodies limit associations, but the common existence of thymoma, pain, and autonomic and central nervous system features, often with both LGI1 and CASPR2 antibodies, should be better recognized to more completely address the range of comorbidities and consequences of the disease regarding quality of life.

Original publication




Journal article


JAMA neurology

Publication Date



Nuffield Department of Clinical Neurosciences, University of Oxford, John Radcliffe Hospital, Oxford, United Kingdom.