Progressive multifocal leukoencephalopathy: a burnt-out case

Ann Neurol. 1983 May;13(5):485-90. doi: 10.1002/ana.410130503.


A patient with Hodgkin's disease developed progressive multifocal leukoencephalopathy (PML), documented by brain biopsy to be associated with JC virus infection. His disease progressed over several months, resulting in severe neurological deficit, but then stabilized with little or no further clinical progression during the remaining year of his life. Histopathological evaluation of the brain at autopsy supported the clinical impression that brain infection was arrested. Whereas the brain biopsy exhibited the histological features of active PML including giant bizarre astrocytes, at postmortem examination brain lesions appeared inactive, with regression of astrocytic changes and elimination of oligodendroglial inclusions. Similarly, JC virus antigen, present in the brain biopsy, was not detected in the autopsied brain. This case provides further evidence that PML is not invariably fatal and that clinical and cytological remission can occur.

Publication types

  • Case Reports
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Astrocytes / pathology
  • Biopsy
  • Brain / pathology*
  • Humans
  • Inclusion Bodies / ultrastructure
  • Leukoencephalopathy, Progressive Multifocal / pathology*
  • Macrophages / pathology
  • Male
  • Oligodendroglia / pathology