The prevalence and clinical characteristics of systemic lupus erythematosus with infectious brain lesions in China

Department of Rheumatology, Peking Union Medical College Hospital, Peking Union Medical College, Chinese Academy of Medical Science , Beijing , China.
Scandinavian journal of rheumatology (Impact Factor: 2.53). 07/2012; 41(6). DOI: 10.3109/03009742.2012.680607
Source: PubMed


Infectious brain lesions (IBLs) are life-threatening in patients with systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE). The aim of this study was to determine the prevalence of IBL in SLE patients and the clinical characteristics of SLE patients with IBL.

Medical charts of 15 consecutive SLE patients with IBL admitted to Peking Union Medical College Hospital (PUMCH) from January 1995 to October 2010 were reviewed systematically. A total of 150 cases were randomly selected as controls from 4115 SLE inpatients without IBL in PUMCH during the same period.

The prevalence of IBL in SLE patients was 0.4%. Significant differences were observed between SLE patients with and without IBL in the following manifestations (p < 0.05): arthritis/musculoskeletal involvement (66.7% vs. 32.0%), C-reactive protein (CRP) elevation (84.6% vs. 28.0%), anti-dsDNA antibody positivity (13.3% vs. 42.9%), and elevated SLE Disease Activity Index (SLEDAI) score (> 5) (13.3% vs. 71.3%). Fever was the most common manifestation (80%), followed by headache and focal neurological signs (73.3%). Twelve patients presented with infections in other sites, including pulmonary infection (66.7%) and meningitis (40.0%). Enhanced cranial magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) revealed point-enhancing or ring-enhancing lesions in all patients evaluated (12/12, 100%). Mycobacterium tuberculosis was the most common pathogen (10 cases, 66.7%). After administration of antibiotics targeting the pathogens, 11 patients (73.3%) recovered.

IBL is not common in SLE patients. In stable SLE patients with fever, focal neurological signs, and CRP elevation, IBL should be suspected. Enhanced cranial MRI and a thorough check-up should be performed in a timely manner. It is very important to identify the pathogens and initiate treatment as early as possible.

12 Reads
  • [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: The objective of this study is to identify the clinical differences between infectious meningitis and neuropsychiatric systemic lupus erythematosus (NPSLE) in patients with SLE. Clinical manifestations, laboratory test results, and prognoses of 14 SLE patients complicated with various infectious meningitis, hospitalized in the Affiliated Drum Tower Hospital of Nanjing University Medical School in the past 7 years, were reviewed and compared with those of 34 concomitantly treated NPSLE patients. Our study shows that mortality rate was much higher in SLE patients with infectious meningitis than in NPSLE patients. Compared to NPSLE, those with infectious meningitis had lower SLE Disease Activity Index (SLEDAI), but higher doses of corticosteroids 1 month before the occurrence of CNS symptoms. Headache, high fever, and vomiting were more common in patients with infectious meningitis, accompanied with the elevation of C-reactive protein level. Cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) examination showed increased levels of leukocytes and proteins but decreased glucose level in patients with infectious meningitis. We conclude that for SLE patients exhibiting CNS symptoms, high fever, high intake of corticosteroids, and abnormal CSF are important clues for the coexistence of infectious meningitis, especially tuberculous meningitis.
    Clinical Rheumatology 06/2014; 34(2). DOI:10.1007/s10067-014-2726-8 · 1.70 Impact Factor
  • Source
    [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: Chronic aseptic meningitis is a rare manifestation of systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE). Apart from immunological causes and drugs, the aseptic meningitis group can include some unidentified viral infections that cannot be detected by routine microbiological testing. It is imperative to do complete cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) workup before implicating the symptoms to disease activity or drugs, as untreated infections cause significant mortality in SLE. We present a case of young female with SLE who presented with chronic meningitis of an uncommon etiology.
    Annals of Indian Academy of Neurology 10/2014; 17(4):426-8. DOI:10.4103/0972-2327.144019 · 0.60 Impact Factor