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1.  Antibody to Aquaporin 4 in the Diagnosis of Neuromyelitis Optica 
PLoS Medicine  2007;4(4):e133.
Neuromyelitis optica (NMO) is a demyelinating disease of the central nervous system (CNS) of putative autoimmune aetiology. Early discrimination between multiple sclerosis (MS) and NMO is important, as optimum treatment for both diseases may differ considerably. Recently, using indirect immunofluorescence analysis, a new serum autoantibody (NMO-IgG) has been detected in NMO patients. The binding sites of this autoantibody were reported to colocalize with aquaporin 4 (AQP4) water channels. Thus we hypothesized that AQP4 antibodies in fact characterize NMO patients.
Methods and Findings
Based on these observations we cloned human water channel AQP4, expressed the protein in a eukaryotic transcription/translation system, and employed the recombinant AQP4 to establish a new radioimmunoprecipitation assay (RIPA). Indeed, application of this RIPA showed that antibodies against AQP4 exist in the majority of patients with NMO (n = 37; 21 positive) as well as in patients with isolated longitudinally extensive transverse myelitis (n = 6; six positive), corresponding to a sensitivity of 62.8% and a specificity of 98.3%. By contrast, AQP4 antibodies were virtually absent in 291 other participants, which included patients with MS (n = 144; four positive), patients with other inflammatory and noninflammatory neurological diseases (n = 73; one positive), patients with systemic autoimmune diseases (n = 45; 0 positive), and healthy participants (n = 29; 0 positive).
In the largest series reported so far to our knowledge, we quantified AQP4 antibodies in patients with NMO versus various other diseases, and showed that the aquaporin 4 water channel is a target antigen in a majority of patients with NMO. The newly developed assay represents a highly specific, observer-independent, and easily reproducible detection method facilitating clinically relevant discrimination between NMO, MS, and other inflammatory diseases.
A newly developed method to detect antibodies to the aquaporin 4 water channel can help discriminate between neuromyelitis optica, multiple sclerosis, and other inflammatory diseases.
Editors' Summary
Neuromyelitis optica (NMO or Devic syndrome) is a rare disease in which the immune system destroys the myelin (fatty material that insulates nerve fibers so that the body and the brain can communicate using electrical messages) in the optic nerve and spinal cord. Myelin destruction (demyelination) in these parts of the central nervous system (CNS) causes pain and swelling (inflammation) of the optic nerve (optic neuritis) and spinal cord (myelitis). The resultant disruption of communication along these nerves means that patients with NMO experience temporary or permanent blindness in one or both eyes that is preceded or followed by limb weakness or paralysis and loss of bladder and bowel control. These two sets of symptoms can occur many months apart and may happen once during a person's lifetime or recur at intervals. There is no cure for NMO, but corticosteroids or plasmapheresis reduce inflammation during acute attacks and, because NMO is an autoimmune disease (one in which the immune system attacks the body's own tissues instead of foreign organisms), long-term immunosuppression may prevent further attacks.
Why Was This Study Done?
There are many inflammatory/demyelinating diseases of the CNS with clinical symptoms similar to those of NMO. It is particularly hard to distinguish between NMO and multiple sclerosis, an autoimmune disease that involves widespread demyelination. Neurologists need to make a correct diagnosis before starting any treatment and usually use clinical examination and magnetic resonance imaging (to detect sites of inflammation) to help them in this task. Recently, however, a biomarker for NMO was identified. Many patients with NMO make autoantibodies (proteins that recognize a component of a person's own tissues) called NMO-IgGs. These recognize aquaporin 4 (AQP4), a protein that allows water to move through cell membranes. It is not known how often patients with NMO or other demyelinating diseases make antibodies to AQP4, so it is unclear whether testing for these antibodies would help in the diagnosis of NMO. In this study, the researchers have developed a new assay for antibodies to AQP4 and then quantified the antibodies in patients with NMO and other demyelinating diseases.
What Did the Researchers Do and Find?
The researchers made radioactively labeled AQP4 in a test tube, then incubated samples of this with serum (the liquid portion of blood), added small beads coated with protein A (a bacterial protein that binds to antibodies) and allowed the beads to settle. The amount of radioactivity attached to the beads indicates the amount of antibody to AQP4 in the original serum. The researchers used this radioimmunoprecipitation assay to measure antibodies to AQP4 in sera from 37 patients with NMO and from six with another neurological condition, longitudinally extensive transverse myelitis (LETM), which is characterized by large demyelinated lesions across the width of the spinal cord but no optic neuritis; these patients often develop NMO. They also measured antibodies to AQP4 in the sera of nearly 300 other people including patients with multiple sclerosis, other neurological conditions, various autoimmune diseases, and healthy individuals. Nearly two-thirds of the patients with NMO and all those with LETM made antibodies against AQP4; very few of the other study participants made these antibodies. In particular, only four of the 144 patients with multiple sclerosis made AQP4 antibodies.
What Do These Findings Mean?
These findings indicate that testing for antibodies to AQP4 could help neurologists distinguish between NMO and multiple sclerosis and between NMO and other demyelinating diseases of the CNS. In addition, the new radioimmunoprecipitation assay provides a standardized, high-throughput way to quantitatively test for these antibodies, whereas the indirect immune fluorescence assay for measurement of unspecific NMO-IgG is observer-dependent and nonquantitative. Although these findings need to be confirmed in more patients and the assay's reliability demonstrated in different settings, the measurement of antibodies to AQP4 by radioimmunoprecipitation may become a standard part of the differential diagnosis of NMO. Additional research will determine whether AQP4 is the only protein targeted by autoantibodies in NMO and whether this targeting is a critical part of the disease process.
Additional Information.
Please access these Web sites via the online version of this summary at
US National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke has information for patients who have neuromyelitis optica, transverse myelitis, and multiple sclerosis
The Transverse Myelitis Association offers information and useful links for patients and their carers about transverse myelitis and neuromyelitis optica (in several languages, including English and Spanish)
Mayo Clinic information for patients on Devic's syndrome
Medline Plus encyclopedia pages discuss autoimmune disorders (in English and Spanish)
A brief overview of aquaporins is available from the University of Miami
The American MS Society has information on MS
PMCID: PMC1852124  PMID: 17439296
2.  Intramedullary non-specific inflammatory lesion of thoracic spine: A case report 
There are several non-neoplastic lesions which mimick intramedullary spinal cord neoplasm in their radiographic and clinical presentation. These can be classified as either infectious (TB, fungal, bacterial, parasytic, syphilis, CMV, HSV) and non-infectious (sarcoid, MS, myelitis, ADEM, SLE) inflammatory lesions, idiopathic necrotizing myelopathy, unusual vascular lesions and radiation myelopathy. Although biopsy may be indicated in many cases, an erroneous diagnosis of intramedullary neoplasm can often be eliminated pre-operatively.
Case description
the authors report a very rare case of intramedullary non-specific inflammatory lesion of unknown origin, without signs of infection or demyelinization, in a woman who showed no other evidence of systemic disease.
Intramedullary lesions that mimick a tumor can be various and difficult to interpret. Preoperative MRI does not allow a certain diagnosis because these lesions have a very similar signal intensity pattern. Specific tests for infective pathologies are useful for diagnosis, but histological examination is essential for establishing a certain diagnosis. In our case the final histological examination and the specific tests that we performed have not cleared our doubts regarding the nature of the lesion that remains controversial.
PMCID: PMC2817645  PMID: 20074378
3.  Toxocariasis Might be an Important Cause of Atopic Myelitis in Korea 
Journal of Korean Medical Science  2009;24(6):1024-1030.
Atopic myelitis is defined as myelitis with atopic diasthesis but the cause is still unknown. Toxocariasis is one of the common causes of hyperIgEaemia that may lead to neurologic manifestations. The purpose of this study was to evaluate the sero-prevalence of Toxocara specific IgG Ab among the atopic myelitis patients. We evaluated the medical records of 37 patients with atopic myelitis whose conditions were diagnosed between March 2001 and August 2007. Among them, the 33 sera were analyzed for specific serum IgG Ab to Toxocara excretory-secretory antigens (TES). All of 37 patients had hyperIgEaemia. Specific IgE to D. pteronyssinus and D. farinae was detected in 22 (64.7%) and 34 (100%) patients, respectively, of the 34 patients. Thirty-one of 33 patients (93.9%) were found to be positive by TES IgG enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay (ELISA). Based on the image findings of eosinophilic infiltrations in the lung and liver, 8 patients had positive results. These results inferred that the prevalence of toxocariasis was high in patients with atopic myelitis. Our results suggest that toxocariasis might be an important cause of atopic myelitis and Toxocara ELISA is essential for evaluating the causes of atopic myelitis.
PMCID: PMC2775847  PMID: 19949655
Myelitis; Atopy; Toxocariasis
4.  Acute myelitis with hyperIgEaemia and mite antigen specific IgE: atopic myelitis 
An occurrence of acute localised myelitis was recently seen in four adult patients with atopic dermatitis who had hyperIgEaemia and mite antigen specific IgE. The total and mite antigen specific IgE was therefore studied in serum samples from 19 consecutive patients with acute localised myelitis of unknown aetiology, 56patients with clinically definite multiple sclerosis, and 40 healthy controls. The total IgE concentration was significantly higher in acute localised myelitis (median=360 U/ml) than in multiple sclerosis (median=52 U/ml, p<0.0001) and the controls (median=85 U/ml, p=0.0002). The specific IgE to Dermatophagoides pteronyssinus was found more often in patients with acute localised myelitis (95%) than in patients with multiple sclerosis (34%, p<0.0001) and the controls (35%, p<0.0001) and the specific IgE to Dermatophagoides farinae was similar (acute localised myelitis 79%, multiple sclerosis 29% (p<0.0001), controls 30%, (p=0.0003). Atopic dermatitis coexisted more commonly in patients with acute localised myelitis (37%) than in patients with multiple sclerosis (0%, p<0.0001) and the controls (7.5%, p=0.0089). Therefore, acute localised myelitis with hyperIgEaemia, in which atopy to mite antigens seems to exist, may be a distinct subtype of allergic myelitis—that is, atopic myelitis.

PMCID: PMC2170101  PMID: 9598690
5.  Toxocariasis Diagnosed in International Travelers at the Institute of Tropical Medicine, Antwerp, Belgium, from 2000 to 2013 
PLoS Neglected Tropical Diseases  2015;9(3):e0003559.
Although infection with Toxocara canis or T. catis (commonly referred as toxocariasis) appears to be highly prevalent in (sub)tropical countries, information on its frequency and presentation in returning travelers and migrants is scarce. In this study, we reviewed all cases of asymptomatic and symptomatic toxocariasis diagnosed during post-travel consultations at the reference travel clinic of the Institute of Tropical Medicine, Antwerp, Belgium. Toxocariasis was considered as highly probable if serum Toxocara-antibodies were detected in combination with symptoms of visceral larva migrans if present, elevated eosinophil count in blood or other relevant fluid and reasonable exclusion of alternative diagnosis, or definitive in case of documented seroconversion. From 2000 to 2013, 190 travelers showed Toxocara-antibodies, of a total of 3436 for whom the test was requested (5.5%). Toxocariasis was diagnosed in 28 cases (23 symptomatic and 5 asymptomatic) including 21 highly probable and 7 definitive. All but one patients were adults. Africa and Asia were the place of acquisition for 10 and 9 cases, respectively. Twelve patients (43%) were short-term travelers (< 1 month). Symptoms, when present, developed during travel or within 8 weeks maximum after return, and included abdominal complaints (11/23 symptomatic patients, 48%), respiratory symptoms and skin abnormalities (10 each, 43%) and fever (9, 39%), often in combination. Two patients were diagnosed with transverse myelitis. At presentation, the median blood eosinophil count was 1720/μL [range: 510–14160] in the 21 symptomatic cases without neurological complication and 2080/μL [range: 1100–2970] in the 5 asymptomatic individuals. All patients recovered either spontaneously or with an anti-helminthic treatment (mostly a 5-day course of albendazole), except both neurological cases who kept sequelae despite repeated treatments and prolonged corticotherapy. Toxocariasis has to be considered in travelers returning from a (sub)tropical stay with varying clinical manifestations or eosinophilia. Prognosis appears favorable with adequate treatment except in case of neurological involvement.
Author Summary
Toxocariasis is a zoonosis of worldwide distribution caused by dog (Toxocara canis) or cat (T. catis) roundworm that can be fully asymptomatic or may cause significant disease such as a the systemic syndrome called visceral larva migrans as well as neurological or eye manifestations. Toxocariasis prevails in tropical areas, but information about this disease in travelers and migrants is scarce. In this study, we describe in detail a case series of 28 international travelers, mostly adults, diagnosed with toxocariasis from 2000 to 2013 at the reference travel clinic of the Institute of Tropical Medicine of Antwerp, Belgium. We found this infection in all types of travelers returning from any part of the world. Clinical symptoms, when present, varied widely and an increase of the blood eosinophil count was almost always present. Morbidity was substantial and 2 patients had severe neurological complications. Diagnosis was difficult in travelers because the illness often resembled other tropical infections. Recovery was, however, complete, either spontaneously or with anti-parasitic drugs, except in both cases with neurological involvement. Toxocariasis is one of the numerous parasitic infections to consider in travelers returning from the tropics with any type of symptoms or with an increased blood eosinophil count.
PMCID: PMC4351981  PMID: 25746418
6.  Varicella Zoster Virus Myelitis in Two Elderly Patients: Diagnostic Value of Nested Polymerase Chain Reaction Assay and Antibody Index for Cerebrospinal Fluid Specimens 
Case Reports in Neurology  2013;5(1):81-90.
Myelitis is one of the rarest neurological complications of the varicella zoster virus (VZV) infection. Focal muscle weakness with or without sensory disturbance occurs in approximately 5% of the cases after acute VZV infection, with complete recovery in 50–70%.
Case Presentation
This report describes two rare cases of elderly patients with VZV myelitis secondary to dermatomal zoster rash. Patient 1 was a 79-year-old woman who developed paraplegia, numbness and decreased sensation in the left arm and below thoracic (Th)-10 after sacral zoster. Spinal cord MRI showed a high-signal-intensity lesion at the cervical spinal nerve 2 on a T2-weighted image. Patient 2 was a 73-year-old man who developed right flaccid leg weakness and urinary retention after right dorsal Th 5–8 zoster. Spinal cord MRI showed a high-signal-intensity lesion at Th 3–4 on a T2-weighted image. In both cases, although the conventional single polymerase chain reaction (PCR) assays all showed negative results, the original nested PCR assay detected VZV DNA in the cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) specimen collected on admission. In addition, the anti-VZV IgG antibody by enzyme immunoassay and antibody index were elevated in the CSF specimens during the clinical courses of both patients. On the basis of these findings, both patients were diagnosed with VZV myelitis and were treated with high-dose acyclovir and corticosteroid. This combined treatment was appropriate and effective for the improvement of their functional outcomes.
The detection of VZV DNA in CSF by nested PCR assay and the evaluation of the antibody index to VZV had significant diagnostic value.
PMCID: PMC3656678  PMID: 23687496
Varicella zoster virus; Myelitis; Enzyme immunoassay; Antibody index; Nested polymerase chain reaction assay
7.  An Unusual Case of Subclinical Peripheral Neuropathy and Cervical Spondylosis in Atopic Myelitis 
Many cases of atopic myelitis have been reported in Japan; however very few were described in western countries. An 82-year-old woman with a past medical history of atopic dermatitis and asthma presented with progressive paresthesia (tingling) of both hands and tetraparesis. Before the onset of neurological symptoms, she complained of ichthyosis of both legs for 5 weeks. Magnetic resonance imaging demonstrated multisegmental degenerative arthritis, degenerative disc disease, and abnormal spinal cord signal intensity over several cervical segments, suggesting the diagnosis of myelitis. Total serum IgE level was elevated. Nerve conduction studies revealed asymmetric axonal sensorimotor neuropathy. The cerebrospinal fluid specimen showed lymphocytic pleocytosis and elevated protein level. Based on clinical, imaging, and laboratory findings, atopic myelitis was diagnosed. The diagnosis of atopic myelitis should be considered in myelopathy patients with history of atopy and elevated serum IgE levels.
PMCID: PMC3819895  PMID: 24251051
8.  Toxoplasmosis of Spinal Cord in Acquired Immunodeficiency Syndrome Patient Presenting as Paraparesis: A Rare Entity 
Although brain has been the most common site for toxoplasma infection in acquired immunodeficiency syndrome patients, involvement of spinal cord by toxoplasma has been rarely found. Spinal cord toxoplasmosis can present as acute onset weakness in both lower limbs associated with sensory and bladder dysfunction. A presumptive diagnosis can be made in patients with CD4 count <100/mm3 based on a positive serum Toxoplasma gondii IgG antibodies, no recent prophylaxis against toxoplasmosis, intramedullary ring enhancing lesion in spinal cord supported by similar lesions in brain parenchyma. Institutions of antitoxoplasma treatment in such patients result in prompt clinical response and therefore avoiding the need of unnecessary invasive diagnostic tests. Here, we report a case of toxoplasmic myelitis in immunocompromised patient presenting as myelopathy who showed significant clinical improvement after starting antitoxoplasma treatment. Hence toxoplasmic myelitis should be considered in toxoplasma seropositive immunocompromised patients presenting as myelopathy and imaging studies showing ring enhancing intramedullary lesion.
PMCID: PMC4265833  PMID: 25538456
Acquired immunodeficiency syndrome; Immunocompromised; Paraparesis; Spinal toxoplasmosis
9.  A confounding coincidence: epidural anesthesia and paraplegia due to intramedullary tuberculoma in a patient who underwent cholecystectomy 
BMC Anesthesiology  2014;14:100.
Paraplegia associated with epidural anesthesia or caused by intramedullary spinal tuberculoma is rare but catastrophic. We present a case of paraplegia following epidural anesthesia in a patient with an undiagnosed intramedullary spinal tuberculoma.
Case presentation
A 42-year-old man developed paraplegia after an open cholecystectomy under epidural anesthesia. Spinal cord infarction, acute transverse myelitis, and intramedullary neoplasms were ruled out by histopathologic examination, and intramedullary spinal tuberculoma at the T6–T7 level was identified. Despite surgical treatment and subsequent antituberculous therapy, the patient retained some disability attributable to the delay in diagnosis.
Physicians should be aware of coexisting disease as a cause of paraplegia following procedures using epidural anesthesia. Magnetic resonance imaging is the most sensitive diagnostic test, although it is still difficult to differentiate spinal cord infarction, myelitis, intramedullary spinal tuberculoma, and neoplasms from imaging features alone.
PMCID: PMC4237767  PMID: 25414594
Epidural anesthesia; Intramedullary spinal tuberculoma; Paraplegia
10.  Extensive infectious myelitis post bariatric surgery 
BMC Infectious Diseases  2015;15:182.
Inflammatory myelopathy is an inflammatory neurological disorder of the spinal cord (myelopathy). It occurs in 1 (severe) to 8 (mild) cases/million per year. It is often referred to in the literature as “transverse myelitis” or “acute transverse myelitis”. Myelopathy and by extension myelitis, can present as pyramidal (motor), sensory, and/or autonomic dysfunction to varying degrees. Symptoms typically develop over hours to days and worsen over days to weeks. Sensory symptoms usually present as paresthesia ascending from the feet with or without back pain at or near the level of the myelitis. A cervical level focal myelitis can present as sensory symptoms restricted to the feet without ascending extension. Motor symptoms often include weakness that preferentially affects the flexors of the legs and the extensors of the arms (pyramidal distribution of weakness) and can include sphincter dysfunction.
Case presentation
This is the case of a 55 years old female patient who develops sudden onset abdominal abscess one year after bariatric surgery that was complicated by an extensive infectious myelitis and cerebral abscesses without any cerebral symptoms. She received adequate antibiotherapy treatment with good evolution.
This case is among the first in the medical literature that has occurred one year after bariatric surgery complicated by an abdominal and cerebral abscesses, and extensive infectious myelitis.
We discussed all types of myelitis including, the autoimmune and the infectious origin. We showed the progressive evolution by showing MRI sequences. We emphasized about the importance of rapid initiation of the antibiotherapy as well as adding glucocorticoids.
PMCID: PMC4435850  PMID: 25879204
Infectious myelitis; Cerebral abscess; Spinal abscess; Abdominal abscess; Bariatric surgery; Antibiotherapy; Abdominal fistula
11.  Acute transverse myelitis caused by Coxsackie virus B4 infection: a case report. 
Journal of Korean Medical Science  1998;13(4):449-453.
Acute transverse myelitis is a rare clinical manifestation of Coxsackie virus infection which cause acute and progressive debilitating illness associated with loss of spinal cord function in the affected patients. A 62 year-old female developed symptoms of rapidly progressive paraplegia with sensory loss. On spinal MRI, T2 sagittal image showed increased signal intensity with cord swelling at T11-L2 level and 8 folds or greater rise of Coxsackie virus B4 neutralizing antibody titers was observed in the CSF. There is only one previous report of acute transverse myelitis caused by Coxsackie virus B4 infection to our knowledge. The presence of specific viral antibody titers change in the CSF and a corresponding spinal cord lesion are sufficient to suggest a causal relationship between the virus and the illness. This article is a case report of an unusual acute transverse myelitis caused by Coxsackie virus B4 infection.
PMCID: PMC3054412  PMID: 9741555
12.  The Etiological Spectrum of Acute Sensory Myelitis 
Background and Purpose
Acute myelitis patients exhibiting only sensory deficits upon initial presentation are not commonly encountered in clinical practice, but they definitely exist. Since acute sensory myelitis has not been investigated previously, this study evaluated the etiological spectrum of the condition with the aim of describing the clinical characteristics thereof.
Patients with acute myelitis who presented at the Ewha Womans University Medical Center (during 1999-2012) and the National Cancer Center (during 2005-2014) with only sensory symptoms as first clinical features were enrolled in this study. Their medical records, electrophysiological and laboratory data, and MRI findings were analyzed retrospectively.
Of a total of 341 acute myelitis patients, 52 (15%) were identified as having acute sensory myelitis. The male-to-female ratio of these patients was 35:17, and their age at the onset of the condition was 41.7±10.5 years (mean±SD; range, 24-72 years). Acute sensory myelitis developed in patients with multiple sclerosis (MS; 14%), neuromyelitis optica spectrum disorder (NMOSD; 17%), and acute myelitis associated with concurrent systemic diseases including Behçet's disease and cancer (6%). Despite detailed evaluation, the etiology of 33 patients with acute myelitis could not be determined. Longitudinally extensive transverse myelitis on spinal MRI and progression of the sensory level were observed most commonly in NMOSD patients (89% and 78%, respectively); however, these patients did not exhibit sensory dissociation. Residual negative sensory symptoms were observed more frequently in NMOSD patients (33%) than in those with acute myelitis of unknown cause (24%) or MS (14%). During the long-term follow-up (4.7±2.7 years) of patients who did not undergo maintenance immunotherapy, a monophasic clinical course was common in those with acute myelitis of unknown cause (76%), but not in NMOSD or MS patients.
Accurate identification of the diverse nature of acute sensory myelitis may assist in patient care.
PMCID: PMC4507376  PMID: 26174785
myelitis; acute; sensory; etiology
13.  Spinal cord astrocytoma mimicking multifocal myelitis 
Differential diagnosis of acute/subacute intrinsic spinal cord lesions can be challenging. In addition, intramedullary neoplasms typically show gadolinium enhancement, mass effect, and cord expansion.
Case report
We report a patient with spinal cord and brain stem lesions resembling multifocal myelitis. Magnetic resonance imaging showed no spinal cord enlargement or gadolinium enhancing. Treatment of myelitis was undertaken without stopping the progression of the disease. Biopsy was made and led to a histological diagnosis of astrocytoma.
Astrocytoma must remain as a possible diagnosis of spinal cord lesions, even without typical characteristics of neoplasms. Furthermore, biopsy should always be considered when diagnosis is uncertain.
PMCID: PMC4116728  PMID: 24621037
Non-enhancing spinal astrocytoma; Demyelinating diseases
14.  Epstein-Barr virus myelitis and Castleman's disease in a patient with acquired immune deficiency syndrome: a case report 
Few cases of Epstein-Barr virus myelitis have been described in the literature. Multi-centric Castleman's disease is a lymphoproliferative disorder that is well known for its associations with the human immunodeficiency virus, human herpes virus 8, and Kaposi's sarcoma. The concurrent presentation of these two diseases in a patient at the same time is extremely unusual.
Case Presentation
We describe the case of a 43-year-old Caucasian man with acquired immune deficiency syndrome who presented with fever, weight loss and diffuse lymphadenopathy, and was diagnosed with multi-centric Castleman's disease. He presented three weeks later with lower extremity weakness and urinary retention, at which time cerebrospinal fluid contained lymphocytic pleocytosis and elevated protein. Magnetic resonance imaging demonstrated abnormal spinal cord signal intensity over several cervical and thoracic segments, suggesting the diagnosis of myelitis. Our patient was ultimately diagnosed with Epstein-Barr virus myelitis, as Epstein-Barr virus DNA was detected by polymerase chain reaction in the cerebrospinal fluid.
To the best of our knowledge, this is the first case of multi-centric Castleman's disease followed by acute Epstein-Barr virus myelitis in a human immunodeficiency virus-infected patient. Clinicians caring for human immunodeficiency virus-infected patients should be vigilant about monitoring patients with increasing lymphadenopathy, prompting thorough diagnostic investigations when necessary.
PMCID: PMC3128854  PMID: 21615962
15.  Transverse myelitis secondary to Melioidosis; A case report 
BMC Infectious Diseases  2012;12:232.
Melioidosis has become an emerging infection in Sri Lanka; a country which is considered non endemic for it. Paraplegia due to Burkholderia pseudomallei is a very rare entity encountered even in countries where the disease is endemic. There are no reported cases of transverse myelitis due to melioidosis in Sri Lankan population thus we report the first case.
Case presentation
A 21 year old farmer presented with sudden onset bi lateral lower limb weakness, numbness and urine retention. Examination revealed flaccid areflexic lower limbs with a sensory loss of all modalities and a sensory level at T10 together with sphincter involvement. MRI of the thoracolumbar spine showed extensive myelitis of the thoracic spine complicating left psoas abscess without definite extension to the spinal cord or cord compression. Burkholderia pseudomallei was isolated from the psoas abscess pus cultures and the diagnosis of melioidosis was confirmed with high titers of Burkholderia pseudomallei antibodies and positive PCR. He was treated with high doses of IV ceftazidime and oral cotrimoxazole for one month with a plan to continue cotrimoxazole and doxycycline till one year. Patient’s general condition improved but the residual neurological problems persisted.
The exact pathogenesis of spinal cord melioidosis is not quite certain except in the cases where there is direct microbial invasion, which does not appear to be the case in our patient. We postulate our patient’s presentation could be due to ischemia of the spinal cord following septic embolisation or thrombosis of spinal artery due to the abscess nearby. A neurotrophic exotoxin causing myelitis or post infectious immunological demyelination is yet another possibility. This emphasizes the necessity of further studies to elucidate the exact pathogenesis in this type of presentations.
Health care professionals in Sri Lanka, where this is an emerging infection, need to improve their knowledge regarding this disease and should have high degree of suspicion to make a correct and a timely diagnosis to reduce the morbidity and mortality due to Burkholderia pseudomallei infection. It is highly likely that this infection is under diagnosed in developing countries where diagnostic facilities are minimal. Therefore strategies to improve the awareness and upgrade the diagnostic facilities need to be implemented in near future.
PMCID: PMC3511196  PMID: 23020820
Melioidosis; Transverse myelitis; Burkholderia pseudomallei; Flaccid paraplegia; Psoas abscess
16.  Patient with neuromyelitis optica and inflammatory demyelinating lesions comprising whole spinal cord from C2 level till conus: case report 
BMC Neurology  2009;9:56.
Neuromyelitis optica (NMO) is an idiopathic, severe, inflammatory demyelinating disease of the central nervous system, that causes severe optic neuritis and myelitis attacks. Early discrimination between multiple sclerosis (MS) and NMO is important, as optimum treatment for both diseases may differ considerably.
Case Presentation
We report a case of a patient who initially presented as longitudinally extensive transverse myelitis (LETM), having spastic upper extremities diparesis and spastic paraplegia, C2/C3 sensory level and urinary incontinence, as well as extensive inflammatory spinal cord lesions from C2 level to conus. After 5 months the patient had another attack of transverse myelitis, had electrophysiological findings consistent with optic neuritis, was seropositive for NMO-IgG (aquaporin-4 IgG) and thus fulfilled NMO diagnostic criteria. Following treatment of disease attacks with pulse corticosteroid therapy and intravenous immunoglobulins, we included oral azathioprine in a combination with oral prednisone in the therapy. Since there was no significant clinical improvement, we decided to use cyclophosphamide therapy, which resulted in good clinical improvement and gradual decrease of cord swelling.
In this NMO case report we wanted to emphasize the extensiveness of inflammatory spinal cord changes in our patient, from C2 level to conus. In the conclusion it is important to say that accurate, early diagnosis and distinction from MS is critical to facilitate initiation of immunosuppressive therapy for attack prevention.
PMCID: PMC2773232  PMID: 19852774
17.  Subacute transverse myelitis with Lyme profile dissociation 
Introduction: Transverse myelitis is a very rare neurologic syndrome with an incidence per year of 1-5 per million population. We are presenting an interesting case of subacute transverse myelitis with its MRI (magnetic resonance imaging) and CSF (cerebrospinal fluid) findings.
Case: A 46-year-old African-American woman presented with decreased sensation in the lower extremities which started three weeks ago when she had a 36-hour episode of sore throat. She reported numbness up to the level just below the breasts. Lyme disease antibodies total IgG (immunoglobulin G) and IgM (immunoglobulin M) in the blood was positive. Antinuclear antibody profile was within normal limits. MRI of the cervical spine showed swelling in the lower cervical cord with contrast enhancement. Cerebrospinal fluid was clear with negative Borrelia Burgdorferi IgG and IgM. Herpes simplex, mycoplasma, coxiella, anaplasma, cryptococcus and hepatitis B were all negative. No oligoclonal bands were detected. Quick improvement ensued after she was given IV Ceftriaxone for 7 days. The patient was discharged on the 8th day in stable condition. She continued on doxycycline for 21 days.
Conclusions: Transverse myelitis should be included in the differential diagnosis of any patient presenting with acute or subacute myelopathy in association with localized contrast enhancement in the spinal cord especially if flu-like prodromal symptoms were reported. Lyme disease serology is indicated in patients with neurological symptoms keeping in mind that dissociation in Lyme antibody titers between the blood and the CSF is possible.
PMCID: PMC2703261  PMID: 19675732
transverse myelitis; Lyme disease
18.  The Frequency of Anti-Aquaporin-4 Ig G Antibody in Neuromyelitis Optica and Its Spectrum Disorders at a Single Tertiary Referral Center in Malaysia 
Background. In the past the occurrence of neuromyelitis optica in Malaysia was thought to be uncommon and the frequency of anti-aquaporin-4 Ig G antibody was unknown. Objective. To evaluate the frequency of anti-aquaporin-4 Ig G antibody (Anti-AQP4 antibody) amongst patients with neuromyelitis optica (NMO) and its spectrum disorders (NMOSD) and the differences between the seropositive and seronegative groups. Methods. Retrospectively, 96 patients with NMO/high risk syndromes for NMOSD (HRS-NMOSD) were identified out of 266 patients with idiopathic inflammatory demyelinating disease from a single center hospital based registry. Anti-AQP4 seropositivity was found in 38/48 (79.2%) with NMO, 12/21 (57.1%) with brain involvement at high risk for NMOSD, 12/15 (80%) with transverse myelitis (i.e., 11/15 with relapsing transverse myelitis and one with monophasic transverse myelitis), and 3/7 (42.8%) with relapsing optic neuritis. Sixty-five out of 96 patients, that is, 67.7%, with NMO/HRS for NMOSD were seropositive. Seropositivity was significantly associated with female gender, a higher number of mean relapses, that is, 5.15 ± 4.42 versus 2.10 ± 1.68, longer length of spinal cord lesions, that is, 6.6 ± 4.9 versus 2.9 ± 2.5, vertebral bodies, higher EDSS, 4.5 ± 2.4 versus 2.4 ± 2.6, presence of paroxysmal tonic spasms, and blindness (unilateral/bilateral); P < 0.001. Longitudinally extensive cord lesions (contiguous or linear), presence of lesions in the cervical and thoracic regions, and involvement of the central gray matter or holocord regions on axial scans, were also significantly associated with seropositivity; P < 0.001. Conclusion. NMO and HRS for NMOSD are present in larger numbers than previously thought in Malaysia. More than 2/3rds are seropositive. Seropositive and seronegative NMO/NMOSD have differences that are useful in clinical practice.
PMCID: PMC4274866  PMID: 25548676
19.  Tuberculosis of spine: neurological deficit 
European Spine Journal  2012;22(Suppl 4):624-633.
The most dreaded neurological complications in TB spine occur in active stage of disease by mechanical compression, instability and inflammation changes, while in healed disease, these occur due to intrinsic changes in spinal cord secondary to internal salient in long standing kyphotic deformity. A judicious combination of conservative therapy and operative decompression when needed should form a comprehensive integrated course of treatment for TB spine with neurological complications. The patients showing relatively preserved cord with evidence of edema/myelitis with predominantly fluid collection in extradural space on MRI resolve on non-operative treatment, while the patients with extradural compression of mixed or granulomatous nature showing entrapment of spinal cord should be undertaken for early surgical decompression. The disease focus should be debrided with removal of pus caseous tissue and sequestra. The viable bone should only be removed to decompress the spinal cord and resultant gap should be bridged by bone graft. The preserved volume of spinal cord with edema/myelitis and wet lesion on MRI usually would show good neural recovery. The spinal cord showing myelomalacia with reduced cord volume and dry lesion likely to show a poor neural recovery. The internal kyphectomy is indicated for paraplegia with healed disease. These cases are bad risk for surgery and neural recovery. The best form of treatment of late onset paraplegia is the prevention of development of severe kyphosis in initial active stage of disease.
PMCID: PMC3691413  PMID: 22565802
Tuberculosis of spine; Neurological complication; Early onset paraplegia; Late onset paraplegia
20.  Radiation myelitis after hypofractionated radiotherapy with concomitant gefitinib 
We describe the case of a 71-year-old Caucasian female with primary disseminated non-small cell cancer of the lung, presented for palliative radiotherapy of metastatic spread to the 9th and 11th thoracic vertebrae without intramedullary growth. Palliative radiotherapy with daily fractions of 3 Gy and a cumulative dose of 36 Gy to thoracic vertebrae 8-12 was performed. The patient received concomitantly 250 mg gefitinib daily. After a latent period of 16 months, the patient developed symptoms of myelitis. Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) did not reveal any bony or intraspinal tumor progression, but spinal cord signal alteration. No response to steroids was achieved. The neurological symptoms were progressive in August 2013 with the right leg being completely plegic. The left leg was incompletely paralyzed. Deep and superficial sensitivity was also diminished bilaterally. The patient was completely urinary and anally incontinent. Contrary to the clinical findings, a follow-up MRI (July 2013) showed amelioration of the former signal alterations in the spinal cord. The diagnosis of paraneoplastic myelopathy was refuted by a negative test for autologous antibodies. At the last clinical visit in May 2014, the neurological symptoms were stable. The last tumor-specific treatment the patient is receiving is erlotinib 125 mg/d.
We reviewed the literature and found no reported cases of radiation myelopathy after the treatment in such a setting. The calculated probability of such complication after radiotherapy alone is statistically measurable at the level of 0.02%. We suppose that gefitinib could also play a role in the development of this rare complication.
PMCID: PMC4313465  PMID: 25631068
Radiation myelitis; Concomitant radiotherapy; Gefitinib
21.  Clinically Isolated Syndromes Suggestive of Multiple Sclerosis: An Optical Coherence Tomography Study 
PLoS ONE  2012;7(3):e33907.
Optical coherence tomography (OCT) is a simple, high-resolution technique to quantify the thickness of retinal nerve fiber layer (RNFL), which provides an indirect measurement of axonal damage in multiple sclerosis (MS). This study aimed to evaluate RNFL thickness in patients at presentation with clinically isolated syndromes (CIS) suggestive of MS.
This was a cross-sectional study. Twenty-four patients with CIS suggestive of MS (8 optic neuritis [ON], 6 spinal cord syndromes, 5 brainstem symptoms and 5 with sensory and other syndromes) were prospectively studied. The main outcome evaluated was RNFL thickness at CIS onset. Secondary objectives were to study the relationship between RNFL thickness and MRI criteria for disease dissemination in space (DIS) as well as the presence of oligoclonal bands in the cerebrospinal fluid.
Principal Findings
Thirteen patients had decreased RNFL thickness in at least one quadrant. Mean RNFL thickness was 101.67±10.72 µm in retrobulbar ON eyes and 96.93±10.54 in unaffected eyes. Three of the 6 patients with myelitis had at least one abnormal quadrant in one of the two eyes. Eight CIS patients fulfilled DIS MRI criteria. The presence of at least one quadrant of an optic nerve with a RNFL thickness at a P<5% cut-off value had a sensitivity of 75% and a specificity of 56% for predicting DIS MRI.
The findings from this study show that axonal damage measured by OCT is present in any type of CIS; even in myelitis forms, not only in ON as seen up to now. OCT can detect axonal damage in very early stages of disease and seems to have high sensitivity and moderate specificity for predicting DIS MRI. Studies with prospective long-term follow-up would be needed to establish the prognostic value of baseline OCT findings.
PMCID: PMC3309007  PMID: 22448279
22.  250 The Clinical and Serological Findings in Patients with Toxocariasis in Korea 
We performed this study to investigate the clinical and serological characteristics of human toxocariasis in Korea.
Total 152 patients with peripheral eosinophilia (>450 cells/μL) were enrolled and they were divided into 2 groups based on a Toxocara excretory-secretory IgG ELISA: 95 seropositive patients and 57 seronegative patients. We not only compared the clinical features including age, sex, tissue infiltration of eosinophil and presence of allergic asthma and rhinitis but also serologic markers such as serum total IgE, specific IgE to Dermatophagoides pteronyssinus (Dp) and Dermatophagoides farine (Df) by using immunoCAP between 2 groups.
The seropositive rate of toxocara was 62.5% (95/152) in the patients with peripheral eosinophilia in whom seropositive patients were older than seronegative patients (P = 0.043), men were more than women (P < 0.01). The serum total eosinophils (P = 0.048), total IgE level (P < 0.01) and the Df seropositive (immunoCAP >0.35 KU/L) rate (P < 0.01) were significantly higher in sereopositive patients than seronegative patients. The eosinophilic tissue infiltration in liver (P = 0.003) or lung (P < 0.01) and ingestion of raw cow meat or liver (P < 0.01) were observed more frequently in seropositive patients but the presence of allergic asthma (P < 0.01) and rhinitis (P < 0.01) more frequnetly in seronegative patients. Among seropositive patients, there were positive correlations between the serum total IgE level, total eosinophils and the value of toxocara IgG ELISA OD (r = 0.502, P < 0.01; r = 0.247, P = 0.016, respectively) and the specific IgE to Df was significantly higher (P < 0.01) than that to Dp suggesting there might be cross reaction between the antigen of Df and toxocara antigen.
The ingestion of raw cow meat or liver was closely related to an increased risk of toxocariasis in Korea. We thought that the patients who had highly elevated serum total IgE level, peripheral eosinophilia and experience of ingestion of raw cow meat or liver but not allergic disease might have human toxocariasis so should be evaluated whether eosinophils were infiltrated in organs such as liver or lung.
PMCID: PMC3513168
23.  Medullary schistosomiasis 
Schistosomal infestation of the central nervous system is a rare cause of cord compression, although a predominant one in endemic areas.
Case Description:
A 38-year-old male, native of Ivory Coast, with a history of 1 month of progressive paraparesis, neurogenic bladder, diminished deep tendon reflexes of the lower limbs, and sensory level. The magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) showed a medullary lesion at D4-D5 level, suggestive of an intramedullary tumor. Laminotomy of D3 to D5 and excision of a grayish white lesion according to a preliminary histopathologic review suggestive of a high grade glioma. Definitive histopathology review established the diagnosis of medullary schistosomiasis.
Schistosomal myeloradiculopathy should be considered in patients presenting with cord compression or features of transverse myelitis, especially in patients from endemic areas or low social economic settlements.
PMCID: PMC4078447  PMID: 24991469
Differential diagnosis; medullary schistosomiasis; outcome
24.  Fulminant holocord intramedullary tubercular abscess with enigmatic presentation 
Intramedullary and subarachnoidal tubercular abscesses are rare forms of spinal tuberculosis as compared with extradural collections secondary to vertebral tuberculosis.
Case Description:
We herein present a 33-year-old, apparently healthy male patient who presented clinically as transverse myelitis, with a lesion at detected at conus cauda, developing fulminant holocord intramedullary tubercular abscess, treated with surgical evacuation and much later with anti-tubercular drugs. Atypical clinical, serological, imaging findings in addition to lack of knowledge of occurrence of fulminant intramedullary tuberculosis led to the delay in starting anti-tubercular treatment.
Early diagnosis requires a high index of suspicion, search for a primary focus of tubercular infection, investigation with magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) of spinal cord, biopsy, and confirmation with microscopy and culture, even in immunocompetent individuals. Early diagnosis, prompt treatment with surgical evacuation of abscess, and anti-tubercular drugs can lead to a good neurological recovery.
PMCID: PMC3622373  PMID: 23607054
Filum terminale; intramedullary; spinal tuberculosis; subarachnoidal; tubercular abscess
25.  Involvement of the cervical cord and medulla in posterior reversible encephalopathy syndrome 
Annals of Saudi Medicine  2011;31(1):90-92.
The posterior reversible encephalopathy syndrome (PRES) is characterized by patchy cortical and subcortical lesions in the distribution of the posterior circulation. The lesions are classically reversible. This syndrome has multiple etiologies, most of which cause acute hypertension. We present a case of PRES with involvement of the medulla and cervical cord (apart from the typical parieto-occipital lesions)-an extremely rare imaging manifestation of PRES. It is important to recognize the imaging findings of PRES in spinal cord, and avoid misdiagnosis as myelitis by proper clinical correlation. Typically patients with myelitis have a profound neurodeficit, while patients with spinal manifestations of PRES are asymptomatic. Involvement of the cord in PRES has probably been an underrecognized entity as spinal imaging is not routinely performed in posterior reversible encephalopathy syndrome.
PMCID: PMC3101734  PMID: 21245605

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