HIV-associated neurocognitive disorders (HAND) describes different levels of neurocognitive impairment, which are a common complication of HIV infection. The most severe of these, HIV-associated dementia (HIV-D), has decreased in incidence since the introduction of combination antiretroviral therapy (cART), while an increase in the less severe, minor neurocognitive disorder (MND), is now seen. The neuropathogenesis of HAND is not completely understood, however macrophages (M?)s/microglia are believed to play a prominent role in the development of the more severe HIV-D. Here, we report evidence of neuroinflammation in autopsy tissues from patients with HIV infection and varying degrees of neurocognitive impairment but without HIV encephalitis (HIVE). M?/microglial and astrocyte activation is less intense but similar to that seen in HIVE, one of the neuropathologies underlying HIV-D. M?s and microglia appear to be activated, as determined by CD163, CD16, and HLA-DR expression, many having a rounded or ramified morphology with thickened processes, classically associated with activation. Astrocytes also show considerable morphological alterations consistent with an activated state and have increased expression of GFAP and vimentin, as compared to seronegative controls. Interestingly, in some areas, astrocyte activation appears to be limited to perivascular locations, suggesting events at the blood-brain barrier may influence astrocyte activity. In contrast to HIVE, productive HIV infection was not detectable by tyramide signal-amplified immunohistochemistry or in situ hybridization in the CNS of HIV infected persons without encephalitis. These findings suggest significant CNS inflammation, even in the absence of detectable virus production, is a common mechanism between the lesser and more severe HIV-associated neurodegenerative disease processes and supports the notion that MND and HIV-D are a continuum of the same disease.
Primary progressive multiple sclerosis (PPMS) and amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) seem to share some clinical and pathological features. MRI studies revealed the presence of grey matter (GM) atrophy in both diseases, but no comparative data are available. The objective was to compare the regional patterns of GM tissue loss in PPMS and ALS with voxel-based morphometry (VBM). Eighteen PPMS patients, 20 ALS patients, and 31 healthy controls (HC) were studied with a 1.5 Tesla scanner. VBM was performed to assess volumetric GM differences with age and sex as covariates. Threshold-free cluster enhancement analysis was used to obtain significant clusters. Group comparisons were tested with family-wise error correction for multiple comparisons (p < 0.05) except for HC versus MND which was tested at a level of p < 0.001 uncorrected and a cluster threshold of 20 contiguous voxels. Compared to HC, ALS patients showed GM tissue reduction in selected frontal and temporal areas, while PPMS patients showed a widespread bilateral GM volume decrease, involving both deep and cortical regions. Compared to ALS, PPMS patients showed tissue volume reductions in both deep and cortical GM areas. This preliminary study confirms that PPMS is characterized by a more diffuse cortical and subcortical GM atrophy than ALS and that, in the latter condition, brain damage is present outside the motor system. These results suggest that PPMS and ALS may share pathological features leading to GM tissue loss.
Multiple sclerosis (MS) is characterized by a wide interpatient clinical variability and available biomarkers of disease severity still have suboptimal reliability. We aimed to assess immunological and MRI-derived measures of brain tissue damage in patients with different motor impairment degrees, for in vivo investigating the pathogenesis of MS-related disability. Twenty-two benign (B), 26 secondary progressive (SP), and 11 early, nondisabled relapsing-remitting (RR) MS patients and 37 healthy controls (HC) underwent conventional and diffusion tensor brain MRI and, as regards MS patients, immunophenotypic and functional analysis of stimulated peripheral blood mononuclear cells (PBMC). Corticospinal tract (CST) fractional anisotropy and grey matter volume were lower and CST diffusivity was higher in SPMS compared to RRMS and BMS patients. CD14+IL6+ and CD4+IL25+ cell percentages were higher in BMS than in SPMS patients. A multivariable model having EDSS as the dependent variable retained the following independent predictors: grey matter volume, CD14+IL6+ and CD4+IL25+ cell percentages. In patients without motor impairment after long-lasting MS, the grey matter and CST damage degree seem to remain as low as in the earlier disease stages and an immunological pattern suggestive of balanced pro- and anti-inflammatory activity is observed. MRI-derived and immunological measures might be used as complementary biomarkers of MS severity.
Postinfectious neurologic syndromes (PINSs) of the CNS include heterogeneous disorders, sometimes relapsing. In this study, we aimed to a) describe the spectrum of PINSs; b) define predictors of outcome in PINSs; and c) assess the clinical/paraclinical features that help differentiate PINSs from multiple sclerosis (MS).
The fatal CNS demyelinating disease, progressive multifocal leukoencephalopathy (PML), is rare and appears to occur almost always as a consequence of immune dysfunction. Thus, it is associated with HIV/AIDS and also as a side effect of certain immunomodulatory monoclonal antibody therapies. In contrast to the rarity of PML, the etiological agent of the disease, the polyomavirus JC (JCV), is widespread in populations worldwide. In the 40 years since JCV was first isolated, much has been learned about the virus and the disease from laboratory and clinical observations. However, there are many aspects of the viral life cycle and of the pathogenesis of the disease that remain unclear, and our understanding is constantly evolving. In this review, we will discuss our current understanding of the clinical features of PML and molecular characteristics of JCV and of how they relate to each other. Clinical observations can inform molecular studies of the virus, and likewise, molecular findings concerning the life cycle of the virus can guide the development of novel therapeutic strategies.
Guillain-Barré syndrome (GBS) is an acute immune-mediated disorder of the peripheral nervous system and a triggering infectious event is often reported in the weeks before the disease onset. Influenza viruses have been associated with Guillain-Barré syndrome (GBS), both after infection and, in rare cases, after vaccination. However, GBS has rarely reported to be a neurological complication of the recent pandemic influenza A(H1N1) 2009 virus infections. Here we describe the case of a young man, who developed acute severe motor inflammatory demyelinating polyradiculoneuropathy during influenza A(H1N1)2009 infection. Peculiar features are the findings of a mutated haemagglutinin gene (D222E variant), which has never previously been associated with neurological involvement, and the almost simultaneous appearance of respiratory infectious and immune-mediated neurological symptoms. Moreover we review the clinical presentation, laboratory findings and outcome of influenza-related GBS.
Anti-Ma2/Ta antibodies are rare paraneoplastic antibodies, which are mostly associated with limbic encephalitis in male patients with testicular cancer. We report on a 50-year-old woman with a pure progressive spastic paraparesis. Next, she was diagnosed as having a Sjögren syndrome, with serological positivity for anti-SS-Ro antibodies. The patients serum and cerebrospinal fluid samples were positive for anti-Ma2/Ta antibodies, which were also proved to be intrathecally produced. These findings, and the coexistence of systemic autoimmunity, led us to treat the patient with corticosteroids first, and then with plasma exchange. Neurological symptoms scarcely responded to both the therapies. The search for cancer was negative up to 4 years after the disease onset. Our case expands the spectrum of clinical syndromes associated with anti-Ma2/Ta antibodies.
We measured circulating serum and cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) concentrations of B lymphocyte activating factor of the tumour necrosis factor superfamily (BAFF), and determined total and Epstein-Barr virus (EBV)-specific oligoclonal IgG bands (OCBs) in 43 patients with multiple sclerosis (MS), 23 patients with other inflammatory demyelinating neurological diseases, and 20 patients with non-inflammatory neurological diseases. Serum and CSF BAFF concentrations did not differ in the three studied groups. In MS, the highest BAFF concentrations were found in the CSF samples with more than 6 OCBs (233.1 ± 129.5 vs 79.2 ± 51.6 pg/mL in the samples with less than 7 OCBs, p<0.0001). Irrespectively from BAFF levels, EBV-specific OCBs were detected in MS and in the other non-inflammatory and inflammatory demyelinating neurological diseases, with a similar frequency, and as a mirror pattern in 30 of 33 EBV-specific OCB-positive cases (p<0.0001). These results indicate that circulating CSF BAFF concentrations cannot help differentiate MS from other inflammatory demyelinating neurological diseases, but positively associates with the qualitative expression of elevated intrathecal IgG production in MS, and that the oligoclonal EBV-specific antibody response, when present, is mostly systemic in all the studied neurological patients, and not preferentially restricted to MS.
Epileptic phenomena are usually not considered a possible cause of prolonged hallucinatory states such as Charles Bonnet syndrome (CBS). A 65-year-old woman with previous right hemorrhagic strokes developed complex visual hallucinations (CVHs), featuring CBS, and delayed palinopsic phenomena, along with new neurological signs and worsening of existing deficits. Video/EEG/polygraphy monitoring revealed the presence of right-sided periodic lateralized epileptiform discharges of the "plus" type (PLEDs plus) and documented a focal seizure in close relation to a delayed palinopsia episode. Adjustment of antiepileptic drug treatment led to remission of the CVHs with simultaneous disappearance of PLEDs plus and epileptic seizures and return to previous neurological status. We discuss the role of continuous (PLEDs plus) and intermittent (focal seizures) epileptic activities in this episodic form of CBS, considering current theories on the genesis of CVHs. EEG assessment is recommended if CBS develops in a patient with unexplained worsening of existing neurological signs.
Lymphotropic Polyomavirus (LPV) was isolated from a B-lymphoblastoid cell line of an African green monkey. This virus shares some characteristics with human polyomaviruses, but it is antigenically distinct from BK Virus (BKV) and JC Virus (JCV). Seroepidemiological studies revealed that human sera react in the presence of LPV antigens, and, recently, the viral genome was amplified in the peripheral blood from patients affected with HIV-related leukoencephalopathies.
JC virus (JCV) is a human polyomavirus that causes progressive multifocal leukoencephalopathy (PML), a fatal demyelinating disease that mainly affects immunocompromised subjects. Since its discovery, PML has been considered a rapidly progressing fatal disease; however, amino acid substitutions in the capsid viral protein have recently been tentatively associated with changes in PML clinical course. In order to provide more insight to PML pathogenesis and identify potential prognostic markers, seven cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) samples and four brain autopsy samples were collected from patients afflicted with PML with different clinical courses (fast- and slow-progressing), and the JCV VP1 coding region was amplified, cloned, and sequenced. In addition, urine samples were collected and analyzed from nine patients with PML or other neurological diseases (ONDs) as a control group. Sequencing analysis of the genomic region encoding the VP1 outer loops revealed polymorphic residues restricted to four positions (74, 75, 117, and 128) in patients with slow PML progression, whereas no significant mutation was found in JCV isolated from urine. Collectively, these data show that JCV VP1 loop mutations are associated with a favorable prognosis for PML. It is therefore possible that slower progression of PML may be related to the emergence of a less virulent JCV strain with a lower replication rate.
Phosphoglycerate mutase (PGAM) deficiency causes a rare metabolic myopathy characterized by exercise-related myalgia and myoglobinuria. This disorder was described in 13 patients and five different mutations in the PGAM-M gene were identified. We report on a new patient with an unusual clinical presentation. As a youth, he participated in different sports without complaining of muscular symptoms, but at 44 years of age, after a brief, intense effort, he experienced lightheadedness without fainting. Serum CK was elevated and the ischemic exercise test showed a pathological lactate response. Muscle biopsy showed only mild abnormalities, but biochemical study revealed a defect of PGAM and genetic analysis showed two different mutations in the PGAM-M gene. Our case expands the clinical spectrum of PGAM deficiency and suggests that the frequency of this metabolic myopathy may be underestimated.
Background: Few studies have analysed long-term effects of immunomodulatory disease modifying drugs (DMDs).Objective: Assessment of the efficacy of DMDs on long-term evolution of multiple sclerosis, using a Bayesian approach to overcome methodological problems related to open-label studies.Methods: MS patients from three different Italian multiple sclerosis centres were divided into subgroups according to the presence of treatment in their disease history before the endpoint, which was represented by secondary progression. Patients were stratified on the basis of the risk score BREMS (Bayesian risk estimate for multiple sclerosis), which is able to predict the unfavourable long-term evolution of MS at an early stage.Results: We analysed data from 1178 patients with a relapsing form of multiple sclerosis at onset and at least 10 years of disease duration, treated (59%) or untreated with DMDs. The risk of secondary progression was significantly lower in patients treated with DMDs, regardless of the initial prognosis predicted by BREMS.Conclusions: DMDs significantly reduce the risk of multiple sclerosis progression both in patients with initial high-risk and patients with initial low-risk. These findings reinforce the role of DMDs in modifying the natural course of the disease, suggesting that they have a positive effect not only on the inflammatory but also on the neurodegenerative process. The study also confirms the capability of the BREMS score to predict MS evolution.
Cytokines/chemokines are involved in the immune response of infections, including HIV-1. We defined the profile of 48 cytokines/chemokines in cerebrospinal fluid from 18 cART patients with chronic HIV-1 infection by Luminex technology. Nine patients were affected with leukoencephalopathies: five with John Cunningham virus (JCV) + progressive multifocal leukoencephalopathy (PML) and four with JCV-not determined leukoencephalopathy (NDLE). In addition, nine HIV-1-positive patients with no neurological signs (NND) and five HIV-1-negative patients affected with acute disseminated encephalomyelitis (ADEM) were enrolled. Ten cytokines (IL-15, IL-3, IL-16, IL-18, CTACK, GRO1, SCF, MCP-1, MIF, SDF) were highly expressed in HIV-1-positive patients while IL-1Ra and IL-17 were present at a lower level. In addition, the levels of IL-17, IL-9, FGF-basic, MIP-1?, and MCP-1 were significantly higher (p?0.05) in patients with neurological diseases (PML, NDLE, ADEM) with respect to NND. Focusing the attention to the cytokine profile in JCV + PML patients with respect to JCV-NDLE patients, only TNF-? was significantly downregulated (p?0.05) in JCV + PML patients. This pilot study emphasized the role of immunoregulation in HIV-1-related neurological disorders during cART treatment.
Progressive multifocal leukoencephalopathy (PML) is a severe disease of the central nervous system (CNS), caused by infection with the Polyomavirus JC virus (JCV). Because there are no known treatments or prognostic factors, we performed a long-term study focusing mainly on cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) samples from PML patients to describe the virological features akin to the different forms of the disease. Twenty-eight PML patients were enrolled: 10 HIV-1+ patients with classical PML (CPML), 9 HIV-1+ patients with slowly progressing or stable neurological symptoms (benign PML), 3 HIV-1+ asymptomatic patients, and 6 HIV-1-negative patients. CSF, urine, and blood samples were collected at the enrollment (baseline) and every 6 months afterwards when possible. The JCV DNA and HIV-1 RNA loads were determined, and the JCV strains were characterized. At baseline, the mean CSF JCV load was log?6.0?±?1.2 copies/ml for CPML patients, log?4.0?±?1.0 copies/ml for benign PML patients, log?4.2?±?0.5 copies/ml for asymptomatic PML patients, and log?5.8?±?1.3?copies/ml for HIV-1-negative PML patients (CPML vs. benign: P?0.01; CPML vs. asymptomatic: P?0.05; HIV-1 negative vs. benign: P?0.01). Organization of the JCV transcriptional control region (TCR) showed unusual archetype structures in two long-term survival patients; the NF1 sequence was found most commonly, whereas the Sp1 binding site was the most common for both CPML patients and HIV-1 negative patients. Our results suggest that the JCV load in the CSF and the organization of the TCR should be considered as indicators of PML clinical outcome.
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