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Glial Fibrillary Acidic Protein (GFAP) Autoimmunity in the Setting of Seropositive Rheumatoid Arthritis Treated With Etanercept

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Glial fibrillary acidic protein (GFAP) immunoglobulin G is a recently discovered biomarker of an autoimmune central nervous system disorder characterized by a steroid-responsive meningoencephalomyelitis.

Case Report:

A 63-year-old man with rheumatoid arthritis on etanercept presented with steroid-responsive subacute encephalopathy and foot drop. Brain and sural nerve biopsies demonstrated a T-cell perivascular infiltrate. Cerebrospinal fluid studies 18 months into the course of the illness demonstrated a GFAP antibody on mouse tissue immunofluorescence confirmed by cell-based assay. The patient was treated with steroids and cyclophosphamide leading to resolution of his symptoms.


This case expands on the previously reported cases of GFAP immunoglobulin G autoimmunity by describing an associated inflammatory large fiber peripheral neuropathy.
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Keywords: GFAP; TNF-α inhibitor; encephalopathy; neuroimmunology; neuropathy

Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: 1: Department of Neurology 2: Division of Rheumatology, Mayo Clinic, Rochester, MN 3: Department of Pathology, Mayo Clinic, Jacksonville, FL

Publication date: September 1, 2019

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