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Anti-basal ganglia antibodies: a possible diagnostic utility in idiopathic movement disorders?
  1. A J Church,
  2. R C Dale,
  3. G Giovannoni
  1. Neuroinflammation Department, Institute of Neurology, Queen Square, London, UK WC1N 3BG
  1. Correspondence to:
    Mr A Church
    Neuroimmunology Laboratory, Institute of Neurology, London WC1N 3BG, UK;


Background: The spectrum of post-streptococcal brain disorders includes chorea, tics, and dystonia. The proposed mediators of disease are anti-basal ganglia (neuronal) antibodies (ABGA).

Aim: To evaluate ABGA as a potential diagnostic marker in a cohort of UK post-streptococcal movement disorders.

Methods: Forty UK children presenting with movement disorders associated with streptococcal infection were recruited. ABGA was measured using ELISA and Western immunoblotting. To determine ABGA specificity and sensitivity, children with neurological diseases (n = 100), children with uncomplicated streptococcal infection (n = 40), and children with autoimmune disease (n = 50) were enrolled as controls.

Results: The mean ELISA result was increased in the post-streptococcal movement disorder group compared to all controls and derived a sensitivity of 82.4% and specificity of 79%. The Western immunoblotting method to detect ABGA derived a sensitivity and specificity of 92.5% and 94.7% respectively. There was common binding to basal ganglia antigens of 40, 45, and 60 kDa. Immunofluorescence localised the antibody binding to basal ganglia neurones.

Conclusion: ABGA appears to be a potentially useful diagnostic marker in post-streptococcal neurological disorders. Western immunoblotting appears to be the preferred method due to good sensitivity and specificity and the ability to test several samples at once.

  • ABGA, anti-basal ganglia antibodies
  • GABHS, group A β haemolytic streptococcus
  • OCD, obsessive-compulsive disorder
  • PANDAS, paediatric autoimmune neuropsychiatric disorders associated with streptococcal infections
  • SC, Sydenham’s chorea
  • TS, Tourette’s syndrome
  • anti-basal ganglia antibodies
  • Sydenham’s chorea
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