Steroid-responsive diffuse cerebral white matter lesions in a case of intractable fungal meningoencephalitis

Yasushi Suzuki, Junichi Onodera, Ryo Sakuma, Yusei Shiga, Kazuo Fujihara, Hidehiko Konno, Yasuto Itoyama

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


We report a case of fungal meningoencephalitis with steroid-responsive diffuse cerebral white matter lesions. A 49-year-old male developed auditory hallucination, confusion and fever, on April, 1994. He was diagnosed as having cryptococcal meningoencephalitis based on the detection of cryptococcal antigens in the cerebrospinal fluid (CSF). Intravenous administration of fluconazole resulted in improvement of his neurologic symptoms and CSF findings. For the next seven months, he was treated with oral fluconazole and the neurological status was stable. However, soon after the dose of fluconazole was tapered, he became confused and febrile, which made him admitted to our hospital. Neurological examination on admission showed disturbance of consciousness, disorientation and meningeal irritation. The CSF examination revealed mild pleocytosis (mostly lymphocytes), elevated protein and normal glucose levels, although fungus was not detected. The T 2- weighted image of brain MRI demonstrated diffuse hyperintense lesions in the bilateral cerebral white matters. Gd-DTPA enhanced MRI showed spotty enhanced lesions in the periventricular white matters. The neurologic symptoms were once relieved after intravenous administration of fluconazole was started, but two months later, he became comatose and needed ventilatory support, despite amphotericine-B therapy. Then, a needle brain biopsy targeting the white matter lesion was done. Histopathology of the specimen showed chronic inflammation with granuloma formation and T lymphocyte infiltrate around the small vessels, though fungus was not detected in the tissue. Combined therapy with corticosteroid and antifungal agents remarkably improved the neurological symptoms as well as the MRI fundings. In the present case, fungal infection possibly induced an altered immune reactions which resulted in the steroid-responsive diffuse cerebral white matter lesions.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)69-74
Number of pages6
JournalBrain and Nerve
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 1999
Externally publishedYes


  • Cerebral white matter lesions
  • Corticosteroid therapy
  • Cryptococcus
  • Fungal meningoencephalitis

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Neuroscience(all)


Dive into the research topics of 'Steroid-responsive diffuse cerebral white matter lesions in a case of intractable fungal meningoencephalitis'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this