Gracile tract degeneration in patients with sensory neuropathy and AIDS

Naomi E Rance, J. C. McArthur, D. R. Cornblath, D. L. Landstrom, J. W. Griffin, D. L. Price

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

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Abstract

At autopsy, four homosexual men with acquired immunodeficiency syndrome (AIDS) were found to have selective degeneration of the gracile tract, a finding previously unreported in AIDS. Clinically, these patients had progressive lower extremity paresthesias and dysesthesias with reduced or absent ankle jerks, and eventually they developed dementia. Postmortem examination of spinal cords showed a striking loss of both axons and myelin sheaths confined to the fasciculus gracilis, with the most severe involvement in upper thoracic or cervical segments. Lumbar dorsal columns showed only a mild fiber loss, and no fiber loss was observed in lumbar dorsal roots. Lumbar dorsal root ganglia were available from one patient and showed a mild sensory ganglionitis. In all cases examined, microglial nodules were present in the brain. In 23 other individuals with AIDS who had autopsies consecutively with these four subjects, none had sensory neuropathy and the gracile tracts were normal. The combination of distal sensory neuropathy and gracile tract degeneration suggests a 'dying-back' process of dorsal root ganglia neurons.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)265-271
Number of pages7
JournalNeurology
Volume38
Issue number2
StatePublished - 1988
Externally publishedYes

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Autopsy
Acquired Immunodeficiency Syndrome
Paresthesia
Spinal Ganglia
Spinal Nerve Roots
Myelin Sheath
Ankle
Axons
Dementia
Lower Extremity
Spinal Cord
Thorax
Neurons
Brain
Sexual Minorities

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Neuroscience(all)

Cite this

Rance, N. E., McArthur, J. C., Cornblath, D. R., Landstrom, D. L., Griffin, J. W., & Price, D. L. (1988). Gracile tract degeneration in patients with sensory neuropathy and AIDS. Neurology, 38(2), 265-271.

Gracile tract degeneration in patients with sensory neuropathy and AIDS. / Rance, Naomi E; McArthur, J. C.; Cornblath, D. R.; Landstrom, D. L.; Griffin, J. W.; Price, D. L.

In: Neurology, Vol. 38, No. 2, 1988, p. 265-271.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Rance, NE, McArthur, JC, Cornblath, DR, Landstrom, DL, Griffin, JW & Price, DL 1988, 'Gracile tract degeneration in patients with sensory neuropathy and AIDS', Neurology, vol. 38, no. 2, pp. 265-271.
Rance NE, McArthur JC, Cornblath DR, Landstrom DL, Griffin JW, Price DL. Gracile tract degeneration in patients with sensory neuropathy and AIDS. Neurology. 1988;38(2):265-271.
Rance, Naomi E ; McArthur, J. C. ; Cornblath, D. R. ; Landstrom, D. L. ; Griffin, J. W. ; Price, D. L. / Gracile tract degeneration in patients with sensory neuropathy and AIDS. In: Neurology. 1988 ; Vol. 38, No. 2. pp. 265-271.
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