Clinical characterization and outcomes of 85 patients with neurosarcoidosis

Sci Rep. 2021 Jul 2;11(1):13735. doi: 10.1038/s41598-021-92967-6.


To analyze the frequency and clinical phenotype of neurosarcoidosis (NS) in one of the largest nationwide cohorts of patients with sarcoidosis reported from southern Europe. NS was evaluated according to the Diagnostic Criteria for Central Nervous System and Peripheral Nervous System Sarcoidosis recently proposed by Stern et al. Pathologic confirmation of granulomatous disease was used to subclassify NS into definite (confirmation in neurological tissue), probable (confirmation in extraneurological tissue) and possible (no histopathological confirmation of the disease). Of the 1532 patients included in the cohort, 85 (5.5%) fulfilled the Stern criteria for NS (49 women, mean age at diagnosis of NS of 47.6 years, 91% White). These patients developed 103 neurological conditions involving the brain (38%), cranial nerves (36%), the meninges (3%), the spinal cord (10%) and the peripheral nerves (14%); no patient had concomitant central and peripheral nerve involvements. In 59 (69%) patients, neurological involvement preceded or was present at the time of diagnosis of the disease. According to the classification proposed by Stern et al., 11 (13%) were classified as a definite NS, 61 (72%) as a probable NS and the remaining 13 (15%) as a possible NS. In comparison with the systemic phenotype of patients without NS, patients with CNS involvement presented a lower frequency of thoracic involvement (82% vs 93%, q = 0.018), a higher frequency of ocular (27% vs 10%, q < 0.001) and salivary gland (15% vs 4%, q = 0.002) WASOG involvements. In contrast, patients with PNS involvement showed a higher frequency of liver involvement (36% vs 12%, p = 0.02) in comparison with patients without NS. Neurosarcoidosis was identified in 5.5% of patients. CNS involvement prevails significantly over PNS involvement, and both conditions do not overlap in any patient. The systemic phenotype associated to each involvement was clearly differentiated, and can be helpful not only in the early identification of neurological involvement, but also in the systemic evaluation of patients diagnosed with neurosarcoidosis.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Brain / pathology*
  • Central Nervous System / diagnostic imaging
  • Central Nervous System / pathology*
  • Central Nervous System Diseases / classification
  • Central Nervous System Diseases / diagnosis*
  • Central Nervous System Diseases / pathology
  • Cohort Studies
  • Cranial Nerves / pathology
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Meninges / pathology
  • Middle Aged
  • Peripheral Nerves / pathology*
  • Sarcoidosis / classification
  • Sarcoidosis / complications
  • Sarcoidosis / diagnosis*
  • Sarcoidosis / pathology
  • Spinal Cord / pathology

Supplementary concepts

  • Neurosarcoidosis