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Zh Nevrol Psikhiatr Im S S Korsakova



[Primary central nervous system vasculitis].


Kalashnikova LA, Dobrynina LA, Legenko MS
Zh Nevrol Psikhiatr Im S S Korsakova. 2019; 119(8):113-123.
PMID: 31626179.


Primary vasculitis (angiitis) of the central nervous system (PACNS) is a rare disease targeting the vessels of the brain, spinal cord and leptomeninges without systemic involvement. The etiology is not clear enough. The authors review clinical, laboratory and radiological features of PACNS. Clinical manifestations are variable and depend on the caliber of affected vessels. The main clinical manifestations of small sized vessel vasculitis include encephalopathy (cognitive disorders, epileptic seizures), headache and transient cerebral ischemia. The main clinical presentation of vasculitis of medium/large cerebral arteries is ischemic strokes, which usually develop in different vascular territories. CSF findings in the majority of patients show modest lymphocytic pleocytosis, elevated protein level and occasionally the presence of oligoclonal bands. MRI data are not specific and include infarcts, hyperintensity (FLAIR) and sometimes tumor-like lesions. The gold standard for the verification of PACNS affected small-sized arteries is brain and leptomeningeal biopsy. Cerebral angiography allows the verification of vasculitis of medium and large cerebral arteries revealing segmental narrowings (beading). High resolution black blood MRI before and after contrast injection may visualize intracranial vessel wall contrast enhancement – the sign of inflammation in intracranial arteries. Treatment of PACNS includes corticosteroids and cyclophosphamide. In the case of patient intolerance, rituximab and blockers of tumor necrosis factor may be used.