Journal of Neurology

, Volume 251, Issue 7, pp 830-837

Symptomatic human neurocysticercosis

Age, sex and exposure factors relating with disease heterogeneity
  • Agnès FleuryAffiliated withInstituto Nacional de Neurología y Neurocirugía, Insurgentes Sur 3877Institut d’Epidemiologie Neurologique et de Neurologie, Tropical Faculté de Médecine Email author 
  • , Alain DesseinAffiliated withUnité INSERM 399, Faculté de Médicine
  • , Pierre Marie PreuxAffiliated withInstitut d’Epidemiologie Neurologique et de Neurologie, Tropical Faculté de Médecine
  • , Michel DumasAffiliated withInstitut d’Epidemiologie Neurologique et de Neurologie, Tropical Faculté de Médecine
  • , Graciela TapiaAffiliated withFacultad de Medicina Veterinaria y Zootecnia, UNAM
  • , Carlos LarraldeAffiliated withInstituto de Investigaciones Biomédicas, UNAMCentro Internacional de Ciencias AC
  • , Edda SciuttoAffiliated withInstituto de Investigaciones Biomédicas, UNAM

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To evaluate the relevance of exposure and host biological factors in the heterogeneity of the clinical, radiological and inflammatory picture of neurocysticercosis (NCC).


105 Mexican symptomatic NCC patients confirmed by imaging were studied before they received any specific treatment. The relationships studied were those between a) the patients’ characteristics (gender, age and level of exposure), b) the type of clinical picture and c) the radiological and inflammatory characteristics of the disease (number, aspect, localization of the parasites, and CSF leukocytecounts).


Results Seizures were the most frequent symptom and multiple subarachnoid cysticerci the most frequent localization. Symptomatology related to the developmental stage, number and localization of the parasites as well as the CSF leukocyte-counts. The total number of cysticercal lesions and of vesicular cysticerci increased with age,whereas the number of colloidal cysticerci decreased. CSF leukocyte-counts were higher in women than in men. Levels of exposure did not correlate with the clinical and radiological pictures.


The variability found in the number, stage, localization and inflammation in the parasite lesions is strongly associated with the heterogeneity of NCC symptoms. The increased number of vesicular cysticerci and the decreased number of degenerating cysticerci with aging, as well as the prominence of inflammation in women suggest that immuno-endocrinological factors may play a role in susceptibility and pathogenesis. The data also show that with increasing age and exposure there is no increment in severity, a suggestion that there might be ways of regulating pathogenicity.

Key words

neurocysticercosis parasite heterogeneity susceptibility