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Leucine-rich Glioma-Inactivated protein 1 (LGI1) is expressed in the central nervous system and its genetic loss of function is associated with epileptic disorders. Additionally, patients with LGI1-directed autoantibodies have frequent focal seizures as a key feature of their disease. LGI1 is composed of a Leucine-Rich Repeat (LRR) and an Epitempin (EPTP) domain. These domains are reported to interact with different members of the transsynaptic complex formed by LGI1 at excitatory synapses, including presynaptic Kv1 potassium channels. Patient-derived recombinant monoclonal antibodies (mAbs) are ideal reagents to study whether domain-specific LGI1-autoantibodies induce epileptiform activities in neurons and their downstream mechanisms. We measured the intrinsic excitability of CA3 pyramidal neurons in organotypic cultures from rat hippocampus treated with either an LRR- or an EPTP-reactive patient-derived mAb, or with IgG from control patients. We found an increase in intrinsic excitability correlated with a reduction of the sensitivity to a selective Kv1.1-channel blocker in neurons treated with the LRR mAb, but not in neurons treated with the EPTP mAb. Our findings suggest LRR mAbs are able to modulate neuronal excitability that could account for epileptiform activity observed in patients.

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Kv1.1, LGI1, autoantibodies, epilepsy, limbic encephalitis