Sarcoidosis of the spinal cord. Report of an autopsy case and review of the literature

Acta Pathol Jpn. 1985 Jul;35(4):1007-22.


The authors report a female elderly patient with quadriplegia, hypesthesia below the neck, and rectourinary dysfunction, which were found at autopsy to have been caused by involvement of the lower cervical and upper thoracic segments of the spinal cord in systemic sarcoidosis. Sixty cases of spinal cord sarcoidosis reported in the literature are also reviewed. Most patients had clinical signs which mimicked those of a spinal cord tumor or meningomyelitis. Only in less than one-third of the cases had sarcoidosis been diagnosed before neurological symptoms occurred. Macroscopically, most intramedullary lesions formed a mass, whereas extramedullary lesions usually manifested as meningitis. Histologically, perivascular distribution of sarcoid granulomas was noted in our patient as well as in many cases reported in the literature. The clinical course of the patients with spinal sarcoidosis was usually poor when early diagnosis was not made.

Publication types

  • Case Reports

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Autopsy
  • Brain / pathology
  • Cardiovascular System / pathology
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Lymph Nodes / pathology
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Muscles / pathology
  • Respiratory System / pathology
  • Sarcoidosis / diagnosis
  • Sarcoidosis / pathology*
  • Spinal Cord / pathology
  • Spinal Cord Diseases / diagnosis
  • Spinal Cord Diseases / pathology*