Autoantibodies in patients with obsessive-compulsive disorder: a systematic review

Denzel D, Runge K, Feige B, Pankratz B, Pitsch K, Schlump A, Nickel K, Voderholzer U, Tebartz van Elst L, Domschke K, Schiele MA, Endres D. Autoantibodies in patients with obsessive-compulsive disorder: a systematic review. Transl Psychiatry. 2023 Jul 3;13(1):241. doi: 10.1038/s41398-023-02545-9. PMID: 37400462; PMCID: PMC10318087.

Emerging evidence suggests that biological components, especially autoimmune processes, may be associated with some cases of OCD and treatment resistance. Therefore, this systematic literature review summarizing all case reports/case series as well as uncontrolled and controlled cross-sectional studies investigating autoantibodies in patients with OCD and obsessive-compulsive symptoms (OCS) was performed. In summary, the available case reports suggest an association between OCD and autoantibodies in rare cases, which has been supported by initial cross-sectional studies. However, scientific data is still very limited. Thus, further studies on autoantibodies investigated in patients with OCD compared with healthy controls are needed.

  • Nine case reports with autoantibody-associated OCD/OCS were identified: five patients with anti-neuronal autoantibodies (against N-methyl-D-aspartate-receptor [NMDA-R], collapsin response mediator protein [CV2], paraneoplastic antigen Ma2 [Ma2], voltage gated potassium channel complex [VGKC], and “anti-brain” structures) and four with autoantibodies associated with systemic autoimmune diseases (two with Sjögren syndrome
  • one with neuropsychiatric lupus
  • one with anti-phospholipid autoantibodies).
  • Six patients (67%) benefited from immunotherapy.
  • In addition, eleven cross-sectional studies (six with healthy controls, three with neurological/psychiatric patient controls, and two uncontrolled) were identified with inconsistent results, but in six studies an association between autoantibodies and OCD was suggested.

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