Atypical Parkinsonian syndromes with prominent frontal lobe involvement can occur in the 4R-taupathies progressive supranuclear palsy (PSP) and corticobasal degeneration (CBD). Secondary forms of movement disorders may occur in the context of autoimmune encephalitis with antineuronal antibodies, such as anti-glycine receptor (anti-GlyR) antibodies, which are typically associated with Stiff-Person spectrum syndrome, or progressive encephalomyelitis with rigidity and myoclonus. Overlaps between neurodegenerative and immunological mechanisms have been recently suggested in anti-IgLON5 disease. In this case study, the authors describe a patient with a Parkinsonian syndrome with frontal lobe involvement and anti-GlyR antibodies. Case presentation
: The patient presented was a 63-year-old female. Her symptoms had begun with insomnia at the age of 60, after which, since the age of 61, increasing personality changes developed, leading to a diagnosis of depression with delusional symptoms. Severe cognitive deficits emerged, along with a left-side accentuated Parkinsonian syndrome with postural instability. The personality changes involved frontal systems. Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) showed low-grade mesencephalon atrophy. [18
F]fluorodeoxyglucose positron emission tomography (FDG PET) depicted a moderate hypometabolism bilateral frontal and of the midbrain, while [123
I]FPCIT single-photon emission computed tomography (SPECT) revealed severely reduced dopamine transporter availability in both striata, indicating pronounced nigrostriatal degeneration. In addition, anti-GlyR antibodies were repeatedly found in the serum of the patient (max. titer of 1:640, reference: <1:20). Therefore, an anti-inflammatory treatment with steroids and azathioprine was administered; this resulted in a decrease of antibody titers (to 1:80) but no detectable clinical improvement. The cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) and electroencephalography diagnostics showed inconspicuous findings, and negative CSF anti-GlyR antibody results. Conclusion
: The patient presented here was suffering from a complex Parkinsonian syndrome with frontal lobe involvement. Because of the high anti-GlyR antibody titers, the presence of an autoimmune cause of the disorder was discussed. However, since no typical signs of autoimmune anti-GlyR antibody syndrome (e.g., hyperexcitability, anti-GlyR antibodies in CSF, or other inflammatory CSF changes) were detected, the possibility that the anti-GlyR antibodies might have been an unrelated bystander should be considered. Alternatively, the anti-GlyR antibodies might have developed secondarily to neurodegeneration (most likely a 4-repeat tauopathy, PSP or CBD) without exerting overt clinical effects, as in cases of anti-IgLON5 encephalopathy. In this case, such antibodies might also potentially modify the clinical course of classical movement disorders. Further research on the role of antineuronal antibodies in Parkinsonian syndromes is needed.