Mechanism of enterovirus involvement in epidemic neuropathy: hypothesis regarding pathophysiology

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


During the epidemic of optic and peripheral neuropathy which occurred in Cuba in 1992-1993, viruses antigenically related to the Coxsackie viruses were isolated from cerebrospinal fluid of patients. Concurrently with the virologic studies, epidemiologic, toxicologic, nutritional, immunologic, and histopathologic investigations were also carried out. Although it was demonstrated that the illness was associated with toxic and nutritional risk factors, it has not been possible to identify a specific etiology for the symptoms observed. Taking into consideration the results obtained in all of the various investigations, we have formulated an integral, multifactorial hypothesis which attempts to explain a pathophysiologic mechanism by which the viruses isolated could participate in the pathogenesis of the illness. We propose that the viral agents produce a persistent infection, and the possibility that they may act as mediator of an autoimmune pathogenic process.


  • P M Lago
  • M G Guzmán
  • L Sarmiento
  • A B Pérez
  • M Alvarez
  • V Capó
  • I Avalos
  • G K Flores
External organisations
  • Pedro Kouri Tropical Medicine Institute (IPK)
Research areas and keywords


  • Coxsackievirus Infections/epidemiology, Cuba/epidemiology, Enterovirus/isolation & purification, Humans, Models, Biological, Models, Neurological, Optic Nerve Diseases/epidemiology, Peripheral Nervous System Diseases/epidemiology
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)339-47
Number of pages9
JournalMedical Hypotheses
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 2001 Mar
Publication categoryResearch
Externally publishedYes

Bibliographic note

Copyright 2001 Harcourt Publishers Ltd.