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J Clin Neurosci. 2013 Nov;20(11):1514-9. doi: 10.1016/j.jocn.2012.12.018. Epub 2013 Jul 30.

Cerebral sparganosis in mainland Chinese patients.

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Department of Neurology, The First Affiliated Hospital of Nanchang University, 17 Yong Wai Zheng Street, Nanchang, Jiangxi Province 330006, China. Electronic address:


Cerebral sparganosis is a severe parasitic infection caused by the larvae of Spirometra mansoni. We retrospectively reviewed the clinical data of 26 patients with cerebral sparganosis diagnosed in our center and reviewed the literature on cerebral sparganosis in mainland China. Among our 26 patients, 20 suffered from seizures, 11 had limb weakness and 11 experienced headaches. The characteristic MRI features included ring-like enhancement in 24 patients, tunnel lesions in 14 patients and lesion migration in seven patients. Twenty-three patients underwent surgery, with the brain tissues of all patients revealling many inflammatory tunnels. Inside these tunnels, live or degenerate larvae were identified in 20 patients, but only eosinophilic tunnels were identified in the three remaining patients. All patients in this series received praziquantel, with three patients receiving praziquantel alone, with no surgical intervention, and all had a favorable outcome on long term follow-up. At least 82 patients with cerebral sparganosis with histo pathological confirmation have been reported in mainland China. The clinical course, radiological features, and pathological features of mainland Chinese patients were mostly similar to those reported in other regions. There exists an inherent correlation between radiological features and pathological changes, with worm migration causing multiple inflammatory tunnels, especially eosinophilic tunnels, which thus form the basis of tunnel-like or ring-like enhancement on multi-planar MRI, and might be predictors for a poor prognosis. Surgical therapy is optimal in the treatment for cerebral sparganosis, but medication (praziquantel and dexamethasone) has achieved favorable outcomes in some patients.


Cerebral sparganosis; Lesion migration; Praziquantel; Ring-like enhancement; Tunnel sign

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