Synapsin-antibodies in psychiatric and neurological disorders: Prevalence and clinical findings

Markus Höltje, Robert Mertens, Morten Brix Schou, Sverre Georg Saether, Elena Kochova, Sven Jarius, Harald Prüss, Lars Komorowski, Christian Probst, Friedemann Paul, Judith Bellmann-Strobl, Daniel Gitler, Fabio Benfenati, Johannes Piepgras, Gudrun Ahnert-Hilger, Klemens Ruprecht

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

12 Scopus citations


Objective: To study the prevalence of autoantibodies to synapsin in patients with psychiatric and neurological disorders and to describe clinical findings in synapsin antibody positive patients. Methods: Sera of 375 patients with different psychiatric and neurological disorders and sera of 97 healthy controls were screened (dilution 1:320) for anti-synapsin IgG using HEK293 cells transfected with rat synapsin Ia. Positive sera were further analyzed by immunoblots with brain tissue from wild type and synapsin knock out mice and with HEK293 cells transfected with human synapsin Ia and Ib. Binding of synapsin IgG positive sera to primary neurons was studied using murine hippocampal neurons. Results: IgG in serum from 23 (6.1%) of 375 patients, but from none of the 97 healthy controls (p = 0.007), bound to rat synapsin Ia transfected cells with a median (range) titer of 1:1000 (1:320–1:100,000). Twelve of the 23 positive sera reacted with a protein of the molecular size of synapsin I in immunoblots of wild type but not of synapsin knock out mouse brain tissue. Out of 19/23 positive sera available for testing, 13 bound to human synapsin Ia and 16 to human synapsin Ib transfected cells. Synapsin IgG positive sera stained fixed and permeabilized murine hippocampal neurons. Synapsin IgG positive patients had various psychiatric and neurological disorders. Tumors were documented in 2 patients (melanoma, small cell lung carcinoma); concomitant anti-neuronal or other autoantibodies were present in 8 patients. Conclusions: Autoantibodies to human synapsin Ia and Ib are detectable in a proportion of sera from patients with different psychiatric and neurological disorders, warranting further investigation into the potential pathophysiological relevance of these antibodies.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)125-134
Number of pages10
JournalBrain, Behavior, and Immunity
StatePublished - 1 Nov 2017


  • Antibodies
  • Autoimmunity
  • Demyelinating disease
  • Neurologic disorders
  • Psychiatric disorders
  • Serum
  • Synapsin

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Immunology
  • Endocrine and Autonomic Systems
  • Behavioral Neuroscience


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