Transverse myelopathy is an uncommon complication of systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE). Three patients with SLE are reported who developed transverse myelopathy, including the neuropathological findings in one patient on whom necropsy was performed. Paraparesis was present in all three cases, but definite sensory changes were present in only one patient. In two patients, the CSF findings were remarkable for elevated protein and depressed glucose concentrations. Microscopic examination of the brain demonstrated small, scattered foci of recent necrosis consistent with microinfarctions. Striking abnormalities were found in the spinal cord at all levels, including multiple foci of vacuolar spongy degeneration in the peripheral white matter, as well as ballooning of myelin sheaths, swollen axons, myelin pallor, and loss of glial nuclei. The pathological findings in previously reported cases of SLE-related transverse myelopathy are reviewed, and the possible pathogenesis of the findings in our case are discussed.
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