PhD conferral Ms Carolin Hoffmann, MSc.
Supervisors: prof.dr. P. Martinez, prof.dr. B. Rutten, prof.dr. J. van Os
Keywords: autoimmunity, psychosis, antibody cloning, autoimmune encephalitis
"The Brain under Attack: Autoantibodies in Psychotic Disorders"
This dissertation investigates the hypothesis whether in a small subgroup of patients with psychotic symptoms, the immune system is attacking the brain. Some autoantibodies have been reported to target specific proteins in the brain and thereby induce neurological and psychotic symptoms. Our results indicate that the presence of these previously described autoantibodies are very rare in the blood of patients with psychotic diagnoses and that the currently used diagnostic methods are of limited use in these cohorts. However, we identified the presence of novel autoantibodies with unclear target in the brain. We further describe two methods to clone autoantibodies from patients immune-cells to be able to produce autoantibodies in the laboratory for further analysis of their pathological function.