Neuropathic pain induced by anti-Caspr2 autoantibodies: pathogenesis and resolution

How do autoantibodies against the body's own nervous system affect the development of nerve pain? How are ion channels of the dorsal root ganglia – the first relay centres for pain transmission – activated by autoantibodies and how can they be influenced? Project group 3 primarily focuses on the autoantibody against the protein Caspr2, located on the surface of nerve cells.


In certain types of encephalitis associated with neuropathic pain, autoantibodies against surface proteins of sensory neurons can be detected. One important autoantibody is anti-Caspr2, directed against the surface protein Caspr2. 

Research goal

In project group 3, the pathogenic mechanisms of Caspr2 antibodies on the development of pain will now be investigated in more detail. The project consists of different parts: 

In clinical studies, the prevalence of anti-Caspr2 autoantibodies in painful neuropathies will be investigated and neuropathic pain and its resolution will be further characterized in a cohort of anti-Caspr2-positive patients from the German Network for Research on Autoimmune Encephalitis (GENERATE).

Experimental studies will include animal and cell culture experiments to investigate induction of anti-Caspr2 associated neuropathic pain and its resolution on different levels.


This project investigates how autoantibodies against Caspr2 induce neuropathic pain and how it can be resolved. Autoantibodies of different subclasses will be investigated.

Research team P3


PD Dr. Kathrin Doppler, MD
Neurological Clinic
University Hospital Würzburg

Univ.-Prof. Dr. rer. nat. Carmen Villmann
Institute for Clinical Neurobiology
University Hospital Würzburg

Members of the team

Patrik Greguletz, PhD Student

Margarita Habib, Master Student


Portraitfoto von PD Dr. med. Kathrin Doppler

PD Dr.
Kathrin Doppler, MD

PI Project Caspr2 (P3)

+49 931 201-23787

Portraitfoto: Univ.-Prof. Dr. Carmen Villmann

Univ.-Prof. Dr. rer. nat.
Carmen Villmann

PI Project CASPR2 (P3)

+49 931 201-44035 / -44037