Progressive multifocal leukoencephalopathy in a patient without apparent immunosuppression

Publication Date



Virology Journal


An 80-year-old man with no history of an immune-compromising disorder was diagnosed with progressive multifocal leukoencephalopathy (PML). He presented with dysphagia and left-sided weakness; magnetic resonance imaging demonstrated marked signal abnormality in the subcortical white matter of the left frontal lobe and in the posterior limb of the right internal capsule. Polymerase chain reaction (PCR) analysis of the cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) was negative for John Cunningham (JC) virus. On brain biopsy, foamy macrophages infiltrating the white matter were identified, staining positive for anti-simian virus 40 antibodies. Postoperatively, PCR for JC viral DNA in the CSF was positive, establishing the diagnosis of PML. Extensive investigation for an occult immunocompromising disorder was negative. The patient's neurologic deficits rapidly increased throughout his hospital stay, and he died 3.5 months after his diagnosis.


Aged, 80 and over, Brain, Cerebrospinal Fluid, DNA, Viral, Fatal Outcome, Frontal Lobe, Histocytochemistry, Humans, JC Virus, Leukoencephalopathy, Progressive Multifocal, Macrophages, Magnetic Resonance Imaging, Male, Microscopy, Polymerase Chain Reaction