Ganglionitis in paraneoplastic subacute sensory neuronopathy: a morphologic study

Neurology. 1997 Oct;49(4):1156-9. doi: 10.1212/wnl.49.4.1156.


A 69-year-old woman presented with subacute sensory neuropathy and autonomic dysfunction of 9 months' duration, associated with high serum titers of anti-Hu antibodies. A small cell carcinoma of the lung was diagnosed by biopsy. She died after cardiorespiratory arrest. At autopsy, spinal and autonomic ganglia showed subacute inflammation with diffuse endoneurial T-cell, B-cell, and plasma cell infiltration. The cytoplasm and nuclei of some ganglion neurons displayed IgG immunocytochemical positivity. CD8+ T cells were tightly attached to, and indented the cell surface of, IgG-positive and IgG-negative neurons. This observation suggests that both cytotoxic T-cell-mediated attack against neurons and humoral mechanisms play a role in paraneoplastic subacute sensory neuronopathy.

Publication types

  • Case Reports

MeSH terms

  • Aged
  • CD8-Positive T-Lymphocytes / pathology
  • Female
  • Ganglia, Autonomic*
  • Ganglia, Spinal*
  • Humans
  • Immunohistochemistry
  • Neuritis / complications*
  • Neuritis / immunology
  • Neuritis / pathology
  • Paraneoplastic Syndromes / complications*
  • Sensation Disorders / complications*