Apoptosis in brain biopsies of subacute sclerosing panencephalitis patients

Neuropediatrics. 1999 Oct;30(5):239-42. doi: 10.1055/s-2007-973497.


Subacute sclerosing panencephalitis (SSPE) is associated with inflammatory infiltration, neuronal loss, and demyelination. The pathogenesis of these changes is unclear. We examined DNA fragmentation and Bcl-2 expression in brain biopsies of nineteen SSPE patients to investigate the role of apoptosis in tissue damage. DNA fragmentation was present in oligodendroglia, and, in tissues with neuronal loss, in neurons. Reactive astrocytes had no DNA fragmentation, but strong Bcl-2 expression. These results suggest apoptosis as one of the mechanisms for oligodendroglial and neuronal death in SSPE.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Antibodies, Viral / immunology
  • Apoptosis* / physiology
  • Biopsy
  • Brain / pathology*
  • Child
  • Child, Preschool
  • DNA Fragmentation / physiology
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Immunohistochemistry
  • Male
  • Measles / complications
  • Measles / immunology
  • Neurons / metabolism
  • Neurons / pathology*
  • Proto-Oncogene Proteins c-bcl-2 / metabolism
  • Retrospective Studies
  • Subacute Sclerosing Panencephalitis / metabolism
  • Subacute Sclerosing Panencephalitis / pathology*
  • Subacute Sclerosing Panencephalitis / virology


  • Antibodies, Viral
  • Proto-Oncogene Proteins c-bcl-2