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Acta Neuropathol. 1977 Mar 31;37(3):183-91.

Meningoencephalitis due to Acanthamoeba SP. Pathogenesis and clinico-pathological study.


Amebic Meningoencephalitis (AM) and Primary Amebic Meningoencephalitis (PAM) are infectious diseases essentially confined to the Central Nervous System (CNS) and caused by free-living amebas of the genus Acanthamoeba (A.) and Naegleria (N.) respectively. AM due to A. sp. (Acanthamoeba castellanii and Acanthamoeba culbertsoni) have been reported in chronically ill debilitated individuals, some of them under immunosuppressive therapy, or in immunologically impaired patients without a history of recent swimming in contrast to cases due to N. sp. which usually occurs in healthy, young individuals with a recent history of swimming in man-made lakes or heated swimming pools. AM due to A.sp. is characterized by a subacute or chronic granulomatous meningoencephalitis involving mainly the midbrain, basal areas of the temporal and occipital lobes and posterior fossa structures. CNS lesions in AM are perhaps secondary and the portal of entry in humans is probably from the lower respiratory tract, genitourinary system or skin reaching the CNS by hematogenous spread. The predominant host reaction is usually composed of lymphocytes, plasma cells, monocytes and multinucleated foreign body giant cells. Necrosis is moderate and hemorrhage scant or absent. Cysts as well as trophozoites may be seen within the CNS lesions. PAM is due to Naegleria fowleri and is characterized by an hemorrhagic necrotizing meningoencephalities with an acute inflammatory response. Only trophozoites are found in lesions. The portal of entry is through the olfactory neuroepithelium. CNS tissues fixed in formalin may be used for further identification and taxonomical classification of the causative protoza using immunofluorescent antibody techniques (IFAT) and electron microscopic methods.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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