Neurological manifestations of Behçet's disease in Japan: a study of 54 patients

J Neurol. 2010 Jun;257(6):1012-20. doi: 10.1007/s00415-010-5454-2. Epub 2010 Feb 3.


The type and frequency of neurological manifestations of Behçet's disease (BD) vary with ethnicity. We analyzed the neurological manifestations of BD in Japanese patients. All patients undergoing treatment at one of the two Yokohama City University hospitals from July 1991 to December 2007 and who fulfilled the Japanese criteria for BD revised in 1987 were studied retrospectively by chart review. Patients had been neurologically assessed by neurologists. We recorded neurological signs and symptoms, magnetic resonance imaging or computed tomography findings, and results of cerebrospinal fluid examinations from the records of each patient. We studied 412 patients with BD, of whom 54 (13%) had neurological involvement (neuro-Behçet's disease: NB). NB patients included a significantly higher proportion of males (61%) than non-NB patients (42%, P = 0.009). The majority of patients (n = 38, 70%) had acute parenchymal NB, 15 (28%) had chronic progressive parenchymal NB, and 1 (2%) had the non-parenchymal type. Headache and fever were more frequently reported by patients with acute parenchymal NB. Personality changes, sphincter disturbances, involuntary movements, and ataxia occurred predominantly in patients with chronic progressive parenchymal NB. Lesions were distributed throughout the CNS, but mainly in the brainstem, white matter, and basal ganglia. Analysis of end-point clinical outcomes revealed a poor prognosis for patients with chronic progressive NB. In Japan, most NB patients have the parenchymal type, and male gender is a predisposing factor. Because of the unfavorable prognosis associated with chronic progressive NB, development of effective therapies are urgently needed.

Publication types

  • Multicenter Study
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Asian People
  • Behcet Syndrome / epidemiology*
  • Behcet Syndrome / physiopathology
  • Behcet Syndrome / therapy
  • Brain / diagnostic imaging
  • Brain / pathology
  • Chronic Disease
  • Cranial Nerves / diagnostic imaging
  • Cranial Nerves / pathology
  • Disease Progression
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Japan
  • Male
  • Nervous System Diseases / epidemiology*
  • Nervous System Diseases / physiopathology
  • Nervous System Diseases / therapy
  • Prevalence
  • Proto-Oncogenes
  • Radiography
  • Retrospective Studies
  • Sex Factors
  • Spinal Cord / diagnostic imaging
  • Spinal Cord / pathology
  • Treatment Outcome