Spinal cord lesions of progressive multifocal leukoencephalopathy in an acquired immunodeficiency syndrome patient

J Neurovirol. 2007 Oct;13(5):474-6. doi: 10.1080/13550280701469178.


Progressive multifocal leukoencephalopathy (PML) is a deadly demyelinating disease of the central nervous system, which occurs in immunosuppressed individuals. This disease is caused by a reactivation of the polyomavirus JC (JCV). Clinical presentation can be variable from patient to patient as lesions can occur anywhere in the CNS white matter; however, they appear to spare the optic nerves and the spinal cord. The authors present a case of PML in the setting of acquired immunodeficiency syndrome (AIDS) who developed PML lesions in the spinal cord, discovered during the postmortem examination. This finding is significant because PML has recently been diagnosed in patients with multiple sclerosis (MS) treated with the novel immunomodulatory medication natalizumab. Indeed, spinal cord lesions are frequent in MS. Therefore clinicians should be aware that in addition to the brain, PML may also affect the spinal cord white matter.

Publication types

  • Case Reports
  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Acquired Immunodeficiency Syndrome / pathology*
  • Adult
  • Disease Progression
  • Humans
  • Leukoencephalopathy, Progressive Multifocal / pathology*
  • Leukoencephalopathy, Progressive Multifocal / virology*
  • Male
  • Oligodendroglia / pathology
  • Oligodendroglia / virology
  • Spinal Cord / pathology*