In May 2023, the Neuroimmune Foundation organized a virtual symposium on inflammatory brain disorders. Over the 2-day meeting, there were 16 speakers who discussed a wide range of topics, all centered on understanding the contribution of inflammation to range of autoimmune, infectious, and developmental conditions (see for details of the agenda for the meeting). The tremendous recent scientific advances in our understanding of brain inflammation and the factors that regulate this process led to a very well-integrated and stimulating conference. Topics included antibody-mediated autoimmune encephalitis, post-COVID neurologic and psychiatric conditions, the contribution of immune pathophysiology to psychiatric illness, the role of the gut microbiome in modulating neuroinflammation, and the role of microglia in autoimmune brain disease. There were also sessions on discussion of both immunotherapeutic approaches and brain stimulation approaches to the treatment of neuroinflammation and the neuropsychiatric sequelae of these illnesses. All of the speakers at the conference were invited to contribute to this special issue of Developmental Neuroscience for a special issue on the topic.

Contributions to the special issue include a review on the connection between post-infectious neuroinflammation and autoimmunity with OCD symptoms in children in the PANS and PANDAS syndrome. These syndromes are emerging as clinical entities with a significant need for improved scientific understanding and clinical categorization. The issue also includes an important clinicopathologic case report of a case of PANDAS, a condition where detailed understanding of the pathologic correlates is critical.

There is also a theme exemplified by contributions to the special issue of the important roles of complement activation and genetic heterogeneity in children with post-infectious neuroinflammatory syndromes and another discussing the roles of complement activation in schizophrenia. This is accompanied by a series that describes the interesting and important association of arthritis with acute psychiatric decompensation in children. Lastly, there is a review of the growing appreciation of the role of transcranial magnetic stimulation for the treatment of the sequelae of pediatric neuroinflammatory syndromes that provides insights into an emerging therapeutic modality for these challenging conditions.

Dr. Pleasure is a member of the Scientific Advisory Board of the Neuroimmune Foundation, for which he receives no compensation. He was one of the hosts for the CME conference that is described in this editorial and special edition, for which he received $5,000.

This is an editorial; there is no funding for this work. Dr. Pleasure’s laboratory is funded by grants from NIMH, NINDS, and DOD.

S.J.P. wrote the editorial.