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BMC Neurology

, 17:123

Demyelinating diseases

Abstract

BackgroundSystemic lupus erythematosus SLE is an autoimmune inflammatory disorder characterized by multiple affected systems. More than half of SLE patients will suffer from neuropsychiatric lupus erythematosus NPSLE during the course of their disease. Although nearly half of the NPSLE patients have normal MRI manifestations, the abnormalities found in the remainder can be located anywhere in the brain, and especially in the subcortical white matter of the frontal and temporal lobe. However, NPSLE involving the medulla oblongata and spinal cord which presents as the -owl’s eye- sign has to our best knowledge not been reported to date.

Case presentationA 19-year-old girl presented at our hospital with a 7-day history of fever and headache since a one day’s exertion, accompanied by 2 days of weakness. The patient had slurred speech. Neurological examination revealed the presence of horizontal nystagmus and a limitation of bilateral eye movement when looking up and down. At the same time, she showed difficulty in raising the jaw, accompanied by a weak pharyngeal reflex. Muscle strength was remarkably decreased in all four extremities: the MRCS grade of the upper limbs was 4-5, while in the lower limbs it was 0-5. Hypotonia was apparent in the lower extremities. Regarding subjective sensation, the patient appeared to be experiencing an increased sense of pain in the whole body, and especially in the cervical region, abdomen, and feet. An examination of shallow reflex documented the reinforcement of the abdominal reflex. Deep tendon reflexes were symmetric: absent in lower, normal in upper extremities. The patient also had a stiff neck with a positive Kernig’s sign. The laboratory examination showed elevated C - reactive protein and rheumatoid factor, as well as complement components 3 and 4. Symptomatic treatments were applied, but she did not respond well, after which we did immunological laboratory examinations. The results showed the presence of anti-nRNP-Sm, anti-dsDNA and anti-AMA M2 antibodies. An MRI scan and enhancement of the cervical and thoracic regions displayed abnormal signs in the medulla and bilateral anterior horn of the lower thoracic spine. Following the exclusion of other possible diseases, neuropsychiatric lupus was diagnosed. High-dose intravenous gamma-globulin combined with methylprednisolone gradually improved her condition.

ConclusionWe report the first case of NPSLE presenting with medulla oblongata and spinal cord involvement, manifesting as the -owl’s eye- sign in MRI.

KeywordsNeuropsychiatric lupus Magnetic resonance imaging Owl’ eye sign Case report AbbreviationsCRPC-reactive protein

CSFCerebrospinal fluid

CTComputed tomography

EEGElectroencephalogram

IgGImmunoglobulin G

IgMImmunoglobulin M

MRIMagnetic resonance imaging

NPSLENeuropsychiatric systemic lupus erythematosus

SLESystemic lupus erythematosus

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Author: Bolin Hu - Pengcheng Wu - Yibiao Zhou - Yan Peng - Xiaoping Tang - Weijiang Ding - Ming Zhang - Xueliang Qi

Source: https://link.springer.com/



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