Morphological study of peripheral nerve changes induced by chloroquine treatment

Acta Neuropathol. 1988;75(3):253-60. doi: 10.1007/BF00690533.


Nerve biopsies were performed in four patients with suspected chloroquine induced neuromyopathy. Three of the patients were treated with high doses of chloroquine for connective tissue disease, while one patient was taking this drug as malaria prophylaxis. Morphological studies demonstrated the presence of segmental demyelination and remyelination in all cases. Cytoplasmic inclusions were observed in Schwann cells, in perineurial and endothelial cells, and in some interstitial cells. They were never observed within axons. Occasional curvilinear profiles were seen in perineurial and Schwann cells. Perineurial calcifications were observed in two cases. The results of this morphological study suggest that chloroquine neuropathy is essentially due primary involvement of Schwann cells.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Biopsy
  • Chloroquine / adverse effects*
  • Demyelinating Diseases / chemically induced
  • Demyelinating Diseases / pathology
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Nerve Degeneration
  • Peripheral Nervous System Diseases / chemically induced*
  • Peripheral Nervous System Diseases / pathology
  • Peroneal Nerve / pathology


  • Chloroquine