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Romana Höftberger
Univ.Prof. Romana Höftberger, MDHead of Division

Department of Neurology (Division of Neuropathology and Neurochemistry)
Position: Professor

ORCID: 0000-0002-5769-1100

Further Information


Anti-N-Methyl-D-Aspartate Receptor Encephalitis; Autoantibodies; Neuroimmunology

Research group(s)

Research interests

My research is at the intersection of neuropathology and neurobiology with the main focus on the characterization of autoimmune mediated inflammation in central (CNS) and peripheral nervous system (PNS) diseases. This includes the description of neuropathological changes of autoimmune-mediated CNS and PNS diseases, search for novel target antigens and associated syndromes, and development and improvement of diagnostic tests. My findings impact multiple clinical and basic research disciplines, linking immunological processes with disease aspects in neurodegeneration, peripheral neuropathies, and trauma. I made key contributions to the field of MOG-associated diseases and investigated the neuropathological changes and inflammatory mechanisms underlying the demyelination associated with MOG-antibodies. Moreover, I described neuropathological findings in patients with anti-NMDAR-encephalitis and anti-IgLON5 disease.

Techniques, methods & infrastructure

Tissue- and cell-based assays as well as primary neuronal cell cultures are used to screen patients´ sera and CSF for the presence of autoantibodies against surface and intracellular antigens.  Immunoprecipitaiton and mass spectrometry are performed to identify the antigenic target of the antibodies. Neuropathological investigation of human autopsy and biopsy specimens are performed on large bihemispheric sections and smaller tissue blocks using immunohistochemistry, immunofluorescence (IF) and double/multiplex IF.

I am the head of a fully equipped diagnostic and research laboratory including infrastructure for neuropathology, neurochemistry, molecularbiology, and genetics.


Selected publications

  1. Höftberger, R. et al. (2022) ‘Pathogenic autoantibodies in multiple sclerosis — from a simple idea to a complex concept’, Nature Reviews Neurology [Preprint]. Available at:
  2. Zrzavy, T. et al. (2021) ‘Neuropathological Variability within a Spectrum of <scp>NMDAR</scp> ‐Encephalitis’, Annals of Neurology, 90(5), pp. 725–737. Available at:
  3. Zrzavy, T. et al. (2020) ‘Acute and non-resolving inflammation associate with oxidative injury after human spinal cord injury’, Brain, 144(1), pp. 144–161. Available at:
  4. Höftberger, R. et al. (2020) ‘The pathology of central nervous system inflammatory demyelinating disease accompanying myelin oligodendrocyte glycoprotein autoantibody’, Acta Neuropathologica, 139(5), pp. 875–892. Available at:
  5. Gelpi, E. et al. (2016) ‘Neuropathological criteria of anti-IgLON5-related tauopathy’, Acta Neuropathologica, 132(4), pp. 531–543. Available at: