The cause of downbeat nystagmus (DBN) remains undiagnosed in about 40% of patients. This paper reports the presence of antiglutamic acid decarboxylase antibodies (GAD-Ab) in a patient with DBN. Antibodies against GABAergic neurons located in the vestibular complex may induce chemical denervation of the floccular neurons, which normally suppress the peripheral imbalance between vertical semicircular canal systems, thereby causing DBN. Testing for GAD-Ab may be indicated in DBN patients without an identifiable anatomical brain lesion.
- downbeat nystagmus
- anti-GAD antibodies
- DBN, downbeat nystagmus
- GAD-Ab, antiglutamic decarboxylase antibodies
- GABA, γ-aminobutyric acid
- IDDM, insulin dependent diabetes mellitus
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Competing interests: none declared.