Thrombotic cerebral vasculopathy associated with herpes zoster

Authors

  • Dr David Eidelberg MD,

    Corresponding author
    1. Department of Neurology, Harvard Medical School, the Neurological Unit, Beth Israel Hospital, the Neurology Division, Brigham and Women's Hospital, Boston, MA
    • Neurology Division, Brigham and Women's Hospital, 75 Francis St, Boston, MA 02115
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  • Ana Sotrel MD,

    1. Department of Pathology (Neuropathology), Beth Israel Hospital, and Children's Hospital, Boston, MA
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  • D. S. Horoupian MD,

    1. Department of Pathology (Neuropathology) and the Rose F. Kennedy Center for Research on Development and Mental Retardation, Albert Einstein College of Medicine, Bronx
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  • Paul E. Neumann MD,

    1. Department of Pathology (Neuropathology) and the Rose F. Kennedy Center for Research on Development and Mental Retardation, Albert Einstein College of Medicine, Bronx
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  • Tomas Pumarola-Sune MD,

    1. Department of Neurology, Memorial Sloan-Kettering Center, New York, NY
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  • Richard W. Price MD

    1. Department of Neurology, Memorial Sloan-Kettering Center, New York, NY
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Abstract

We describe the clinical, radiographic, and pathological findings in 3 patients with large-vessel cerebral vasculopathy following herpes zoster. Two of the patients were studied at postmortem examination, and a brain biopsy was performed in the third. Each of the 3 patients suffered thrombotic occlusions of large vessels without notable inflammatory or granulomatous changes following trigeminal or segmental herpes zoster infection. In the 2 autopsied patients, varicella-zoster virus (VZV) antigens were detected by immunoperoxidase staining within the media of the affected cerebral arteries. Little or no inflammation was associated with the foci of the VZV antigens. These studies provide evidence that the vasculopathy following herpes zoster may result from direct VZV infection of the artery and the in situ thrombosis can develop within the infected vessels in the absence of clear inflammatory vasculitis.

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