Intrathecal interferon in subacute sclerosing panencephalitis

Ann Neurol. 1986 Mar;19(3):303-5. doi: 10.1002/ana.410190317.


Five patients with clinically advanced subacute sclerosing panencephalitis (SSPE) were given human leukocyte interferon (IFN) by the lumbar route, 1 million IU every other day for a total of 30 days. Intrathecal IFN produced a meningeal inflammatory reaction in all patients and was associated with transient hemiparesis in 1. It persisted in the cerebrospinal fluid at measurable levels for 48 hours after a single injection. Although improvement was temporally related to intrathecal IFN in 1 patient, it is not clear whether this was induced by IFN or a spontaneous remission. A randomized controlled trial would be necessary to evaluate IFN critically as a therapy for SSPE.

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Cerebrospinal Fluid Proteins / analysis
  • Drug Evaluation
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Injections, Spinal
  • Interferons / administration & dosage*
  • Interferons / blood
  • Interferons / cerebrospinal fluid
  • Interferons / therapeutic use
  • Male
  • Measles virus / isolation & purification
  • Subacute Sclerosing Panencephalitis


  • Cerebrospinal Fluid Proteins
  • Interferons