Sarcoidosis of the nervous system

Pract Neurol. 2007 Aug;7(4):234-44. doi: 10.1136/jnnp.2007.124263.


Although sarcoidosis is rarely confined to the nervous system, any neurological features that do occur frequently happen early in the course of the disease. The most common neurological presentation is with cranial neuropathies, but seizures, chronic meningitis and the effects of mass lesions are also frequent. The diagnostic process should first confirm nervous system involvement and then provide supportive evidence for the underlying disease; in the absence of any positive tissue biopsy, the most useful diagnostic tests are gadolinium enhanced MRI of the brain and CSF analysis, although both are non-specific. The mainstay of treatment is corticosteroids, but these often have to be combined with other immunosuppressants such as methotrexate, hydroxychloroquine or cyclophosphamide. There is increasing evidence that infliximab is a safe treatment with good steroid sparing capacity.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Autoimmune Diseases of the Nervous System / pathology
  • Autoimmune Diseases of the Nervous System / physiopathology*
  • Autoimmune Diseases of the Nervous System / therapy
  • Brain / immunology
  • Brain / pathology
  • Brain / physiopathology
  • Cranial Nerve Diseases / immunology
  • Cranial Nerve Diseases / physiopathology*
  • Granuloma / immunology
  • Granuloma / pathology
  • Granuloma / physiopathology*
  • Humans
  • Immunosuppressive Agents / therapeutic use
  • Meningitis, Aseptic / complications
  • Meningitis, Aseptic / immunology
  • Meningitis, Aseptic / physiopathology*
  • Optic Nerve Diseases / immunology
  • Optic Nerve Diseases / pathology
  • Optic Nerve Diseases / physiopathology
  • Sarcoidosis / pathology
  • Sarcoidosis / physiopathology*
  • Sarcoidosis / therapy
  • Skull Base / pathology
  • Skull Base / physiopathology


  • Immunosuppressive Agents