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Arquivos de Neuro-Psiquiatria

Print version ISSN 0004-282X

Arq. Neuro-Psiquiatr. vol.47 no.2 São Paulo June 1989 

Tropical spastic paraparesis in Northeastern Brazil


Paraparesia espástica tropical no Nordeste do Brasil



C. M. de Castro CostaI; M. R. SalgueiroII; H. CartonIII; O. C. do ValeII; A. M. de ArrudaII

IDepartment of Physiology and Service of Neurology, University Hospital, Federal University of Ceara (UH, FUC), Brazil
IIService of Neurology, UH, FUC
IIIDepartment of Neurology, Catholique University of Louvain, Belgium




Ten possible cases of tropical spastic paraparesis (TSP) in Northeastern Brazil (Ceará) are presented. They show the typical symptoms and signs of TSP consisting of weakness of the lower limbs, spastic gait, hiperreflexia, bladder dysfunction and variable signs of posterior columns impairment. The laboratory examinations excluded other compressive, infective, degenerative or demyelinating lesions of their spinal cord. Our patients age ranged from 21 to 59 years, all were of black origin and all were of lower social class. There was a slight preponderance of females. An etiological implication of a retrovirus (HTLV-I) has been shown for TSP, but for lack of technical conditions we could not determine it in our patients, and that stands as our subsequent step in those and further cases.


Os autores apresentam 10 casos de provável paraparesia espástica tropical (PET) oriundos do Nordeste do Brasil (Hospital das Clínicas - Universidade Federal do Ceará). Os sintomas consistem de fraqueza dos membros inferiores, marcha espástica, hiperreflexia, disfunção esfincteriana e sinais variados de distúrbio proprioceptivo. Outras etiologias de mielopatias foram excluídas pelos exames complementares. A idade dos pacientes ia de 21 a 59 anos, todos eram da raça negra e havia discreto predomínio de mulheres. Recentemente, tem-se atribuído ao retrovírus HTLV-I a etiologia da PET. Por falta de condições técnicas ainda não pudemos determiná-la em nossos pacientes.



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Dr. C. M. Castro Costa - Departamento de Fisiologia e Farmacologia - Centro de Ciências da Saúde, Universidade Federal do Ceará - Caixa Postal 657 - 60000 Fortaleza CE - Brasil.

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