Peripheral neuropathy in HTLV-I infected individuals without tropical spastic paraparesis/HTLV-I-associated myelopathy

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Abstract.Tropical spastic paraparesis/ HTLV-I-associated myelopathy (TSP/HAM) is the classical neurological manifestation of HTLV-I. Only a few studies have described isolated peripheral neuropathy (PN) among HTLV-I infected individuals. 335 infected individuals without TSP/HAM were evaluated for the presence of PN and 45 of them showed evidences of peripheral nervous system involvement. Of these 21 patients had isolated PN, defined by clinical and/or electrophysiological criteria. Sural nerve biopsies revealed inflammatory infiltrates in 2, axonal degeneration in 2 and segmental demyelination in 1. Therefore, peripheral neuropathy can be found as an isolated manifestation of HTLV-I infection. We conclude that HTLV-I infection should be investigated in patients with PN of unknown origin.

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