Pathology Handbook

NMDA Receptor Antibodies


NMDA, NMDAR, N-methyl-D-aspartate Glutamate

Clinical Indications

Specialist request only 

Encephalitis of unknown origin 
Limbic Encephalitis 
First found in young women with ovarian tumours and prominent psychiatric symptoms, amnesias, seizures, dyskinesias, autonomic dysfunction and decreased level of consciousness. Now also found in both male and female patients (including children) without tumour. With early diagnosis and treatment (immunotherapy and tumour removal) patients often improve.

Test Includes

Detection of autoantibodies directed against a number of subunits of the NMDA Receptor

Request Form 

Request via ICE


Assay performed weekly

Specific Criteria

It is essential to provide relevant clinical information.

Turnaround Time

All samples are generally sent to  referral laboratory within 3 working days of receipt in the laboratory. The assay is performed daily; Samples are batched and tested weekly.




7 ml


Vacutainer red top


Samples should be transported to the laboratory as soon as is practicably possible

Lab Handling

Aliquot and store at 4-8°C prior to testing and at -20°C or below for up to 1 month after receipt.

Causes for Rejection

Unlabelled/inadequately labelled sample
Inadequately completed request form
Delay in sample reaching laboratory

Reference Range

A qualitative result is given and samples are reported as Positive or Negative.