Plasmapheresis in treatment of human T-lymphotropic virus type-I associated myelopathy

H Matsuo, T Nakamura, M Tsujihata, I Kinoshita, A Satoh, I Tomita, S Shirabe, K Shibayama, S Nagataki
Lancet 1988 November 12, 2 (8620): 1109-13
In 11 of 18 patients with human T-lymphotropic virus type-I (HTLV-I) associated myelopathy (HAM) gait, sensory, and/or sphincter disturbance improved with plasmapheresis (4 to 6 sessions in 2 weeks), and the effects were maintained for 2 to 4 weeks. Plasmapheresis lowered the titre of HTLV-I antibody in serum but not in cerebrospinal fluid, and change of HTLV-I antibody titres did not correlate with the effects of plasmapheresis. These results suggest that plasmapheresis is useful treatment, at least in producing a temporary improvement, in patients with HAM, and that some humoral factor(s), but not HTLV-I antibody, may be important in the pathogenesis of HAM.

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