Gravity-Independent Upbeat Nystagmus in Syndrome of Anti-GAD Antibodies.

Published in Cerebellum, on 2018


Daniel Feldman, Jorge Otero-Millan & Aasef G Shaikh


An autoimmune disorder of the central nervous system, stiff person syndrome, frequently presents with increased titers of 65KD anti-glutamic acid decarboxylase (anti-GAD) antibodies. The clinical phenomenology of this syndrome includes stiffness, ataxia, vertigo due to horizontal gaze-evoked and downbeat vertical nystagmus, and dysmetria of saccades and reaching movements. Here, we describe a novel phenomenology of syndrome of anti-GAD antibody, non-position-dependent upbeat nystagmus and superimposed horizontal gaze-evoked nystagmus. Lack of gravity dependence of primary position upbeat nystagmus, intense nystagmus on up-gaze, relatively stable gaze on downward orientation, and the exponentially decaying waveform suggests neural integrator dysfunction. The titer of anti-GAD in our patient (30 U/ml) was consistent with a variant called “low-titer anti-GAD syndrome”. In addition of presenting as an unusual manifestation of a rare neurological syndrome, this case presents a neurochemical correlate of upbeat nystagmus in GABA-mediated control system involving horizontal and vertical neural integrators. Furthermore, the variant of “low-titer anti-GAD syndrome” suggests that GABAergic system may be affected at lower level or antibodies, and/or the epitopes of antibody in those with full-blown clinical syndrome, but low titers of anti-GAD may be different.


Feldman, Otero-Millan & Shaikh (2019) Gravity-Independent Upbeat Nystagmus in Syndrome of Anti-GAD Antibodies.. Cerebellum. 2019 Apr;18(2):287-290.

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