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The Role of NMDA Receptors in Human Eating Behavior: Evidence From a Case of Anti-NMDA Receptor Encephalitis

Perogamvros, Lampros MD; Schnider, Armin MD; Leemann, Beatrice MD

Cognitive & Behavioral Neurology:
doi: 10.1097/WNN.0b013e31825921a6
Case Reports

Research in animal models has implicated N-methyl-D-aspartate (NMDA) receptors (NMDARs) in the control of food intake. Until now, these findings have been not replicated in humans. Here we describe a 22-year-old woman with anti-NMDAR encephalitis and no prior neurological or psychiatric history. Her clinical course was marked by successive eating disorders: anorexia followed by hyperphagia. We propose that, much as they do in other animals, NMDARs in humans interact with the neuroendocrine, homeostatic, and reward systems controlling food intake in the central and peripheral nervous system structures related to feeding and satiety.

Author Information

Department of Clinical Neurosciences, Division of Neurorehabilitation, University Hospitals of Geneva, Geneva, Switzerland

The authors declare no conflicts of interest.

Reprints: Lampros Perogamvros, MD, Division of Neuropsychiatry, Department of Psychiatry, University Hospitals of Geneva, Ch. du Petit-Bel-Air 2, Geneva 1225, Switzerland (e-mail:

Received July 22, 2011

Accepted January 19, 2012

© 2012 Lippincott Williams & Wilkins, Inc.