Antiphospholipid and antinuclear antibodies in patients with epilepsy or new-onset seizure disorders.


PURPOSE The increased prevalence of autoantibodies in patients with epilepsy has been traditionally regarded to be a consequence of antiepileptic drugs. The purpose of this study was to measure autoantibodies in well-defined groups of patients with seizures to determine the effects of epilepsy and antiepileptic medications on the presence of autoantibodies. PATIENTS AND METHODS We studied the frequency of antinuclear antibodies, anti-beta2-glycoprotein I antibodies, and anticardiolipin antibodies in 50 patients with therapy-resistant localization-related epilepsy, 50 patients with generalized epilepsy syndromes, 52 patients with a newly diagnosed seizure disorder but no antiepileptic medication, and 83 healthy controls. RESULTS Compared with controls, newly diagnosed patients had a significantly greater prevalence of immunoglobulin (Ig) G class anticardiolipin antibodies (21% versus 7%); the prevalence was 14% in patients with localization-related epilepsy and 8% in patients with generalized epilepsy. The prevalence of IgM class anticardiolipin antibodies was significantly greater in all seizure groups (60% in localization-related epilepsy, 42% in generalized epilepsies, and 33% in newly diagnosed patients) compared with controls (7%). Antinuclear antibodies were significantly more common in newly diagnosed patients (21%) and localization-related epilepsy (24%) compared with controls (12%). When patients with generalized epilepsy (8%) were used as the reference group, antinuclear antibodies were also significantly more frequent in localization-related epilepsy (relative risk [RR] = 2.9, 95% confidence interval [CI]: 1.1 to 8.2) and newly diagnosed seizures (RR = 3.4, 95% CI: 1.2 to 9.3). There were no consistent associations between autoantibodies and specific antiepileptic medications. CONCLUSIONS The prevalence of autoantibodies is greater in patients with epilepsy, including newly diagnosed seizure disorder. The increased prevalence of autoantibodies is more strongly associated with epilepsy than with antiepileptic drugs, perhaps indicating that immune dysregulation may be commonly associated with epilepsy.

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