Glutamic Acid Decarboxylase Autoantibody Syndrome Presenting as Schizophrenia

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Glutamic acid decarboxylase (GAD) is the rate-limiting enzyme converting glutamate into γ-aminobutyric acid. Impaired GAD function can alter motor, cognitive, and behavioral function. Anti-GAD antibodies (GADAbs) can cause several neurological disorders. However, the association between anti-GADAbs and pure psychosis, without seizures or focal neurological deficits, is not well defined.

Case Report:

A 19-year-old woman with recent-onset psychotic disorder was diagnosed with schizophrenia. Brain magnetic resonance imaging and cerebrospinal fluid analysis were normal. Serum anti-GADAb titers were elevated. Brain biopsy showed subcortical gliosis and microglia-macrophage infiltration. The clinical syndrome improved with immune therapy.


Severe psychosis and mild cognitive decline without other neurological features, meeting the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, 4th edition, text revision diagnostic criteria for schizophrenia, can result from brain inflammation associated with elevated serum anti-GADAbs.

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