Author(s): Oelschlaeger C, Dziewas R, Reichelt D, Minnerup J, Niederstadt T,
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Abstract INTRODUCTION: Immune reconstitution inflammatory syndrome is a well-known complication in HIV-infected patients after initiation of highly active antiretroviral therapy resulting in rapid CD4+ cell count recovery and suppression of viral load. Generally, immune reconstitution inflammatory syndrome is based on opportunistic infections, but rare cases of immune reconstitution inflammatory syndrome inducing demyelinization of the nervous system have also been observed. CASE PRESENTATION: A 37-year-old African woman with HIV infection diagnosed at 13 years of age was admitted to the emergency department after experiencing backache, severe headache, acute aphasia and psychomotor slowing for one week. Nine weeks earlier, highly active antiretroviral therapy in this patient had been changed because of loss of efficacy, and a rapid increase in CD4+ cell count and decrease of HIV viral load were observed. Magnetic resonance imaging of the brain showed extensive white matter lesions, and analysis of cerebrospinal fluid revealed an immunoreactive syndrome. Intensive investigations detected no opportunistic infections. A salvage therapy, including osmotherapy, corticosteroids and treatment of epileptic seizures, was performed, but the patient died from brainstem herniation 48 hours after admission. Neuropathologic examination of the brain revealed diffuse swelling, leptomeningeal infiltration by CD8 cells and enhancement of perivascular spaces by CD8+ cells. CONCLUSION: Immune reconstitution inflammatory syndrome in this form seems to represent a severe autoimmunologic disease of the brain with specific histopathologic findings. This form of immune reconstitution inflammatory syndrome did not respond to therapy, and extremely rapid deterioration led to death within two days. Immune reconstitution inflammatory syndrome may also occur as severe leukoencephalopathy with fulminant cerebral edema during HIV infection with rapid immune reconstitution.
This article was published in J Med Case Rep
and referenced in Journal of Multiple Sclerosis