Identification of the N-Methyl-D-Aspartate Receptor (Nmdar) -Related Epitope, Nr2B, in the Normal Human Ovary: Implication for the Pathogenesis of Anti-Nmdar Encephalitis
Tachibana, N.; Kinoshita, M.; Saito, Y.; Ikeda, S.
The Tohoku Journal of Experimental Medicine 230(1): 13-16
N-methyl-D-aspartate receptors (NMDARs) are one type of ionotropic glutamate receptors (GluRs) and are heterotetrametric cation channels composed of NMDAR1 (NR1), NMDAR2 (NR2A, 2B, 2C or 2D) and NMDAR3 (NR3A or NR3B) subunits. The main subunits are NR1 and NR2 and their combinations are classified into several diverse forms including NR1/NR1/NR2A/NR2A, NR1/NR1/NR2B/NR2B and NR1/NR1/NR2A/NR2B. NMDARs are physiologically related to synapse development and synaptic plasticity in the central nervous system. Anti-NMDAR encephalitis is a form of autoimmune limbic encephalitis mainly affecting young women, with various manifestations including initial psychiatric symptoms, subsequent unresponsiveness, intractable generalized seizure, dysautonomia and orofacial dyskinesia. This disorder is often accompanied by ovarian teratoma that is originated from oocytes. Anti-neural antibody for the NR1/NR2 heteromer of NMDAR has been identified as a disease-specific hallmark. It has been emphasized that neural components in ovarian teratoma act as a trigger to produce anti-NMDAR antibodies, although about half of the patients with anti-NMDAR encephalitis are not associated with ovarian teratoma. To identify NMDAR-related epitopes located outside of the brain, we performed immunohistochemical examinations of normal human ovary and testis using specific antibodies against NR1, NR2A and NR2B, respectively, and found expression of the NR2B epitope in the cytoplasm of oocytes. In contrast, the testis showed no immunohistochemical reactivity. Therefore, oocytes contain NMDAR-related epitopes including NR2B. The NMDAR-related epitopes in normal oocytes may cause an antigen-antibody reaction in certain pathological conditions. The presence of NR2B immunoreactivity in oocytes may account for the fact that anti-NMDAR encephalitis predominantly affects young females.