Previous findings suggest a link between neuroinflammatory processes and suicidality. Despite several lines of evidence supporting this link, including increased pro-inflammatory markers in blood-, cerebrospinal fluid (CSF)- and in post-mortem brain samples from suicidal individuals, the underlying mechanisms remain poorly understood. In this pilot study, we explored the possibility that autoimmune encephalopathies might be found among suicide attempters. We analysed the presence of six different autoantibodies (N-methyl-Daspartate receptor, the α-amino-3-hydroxy-5-methyl-4-isoxazol-propionic acid receptor, the γ-amino-butyric acid B-receptor, the leucine-rich, glioma-inactivated 1, the contactin-associated protein-like 2, and the dipeptidyl-peptidase-like protein-6), all previously associated with psychopathology, in CSF samples from 29 unmedicated suicide attempters. Five of these subjects had high CSF/serum albumin ratio, indicative of increased blood-brain-barrier permeability. We were not able to detect any of these autoantibodies in the CSF samples. These pilot data do not support a role for autoimmune encephalopathies in suicidal behaviour, although the presence of lower levels of these autoantibodies cannot be ruled out in these patients.
Fernström, J., Westrin, Å., Grudet, C., Träskman-Bendz, L., Brundin, L., & Lindqvist, D. (2017). Six autoantibodies associated with autoimmune encephalitis are not detectable in the cerebrospinal fluid of suicide attempters. PLoS ONE, 12(4). https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0176358