Journal of NeuroVirology

, Volume 24, Issue 5, pp 652–655 | Cite as

Successful treatment of progressive multifocal leukoencephalopathy with recombinant interleukin-7 and maraviroc in a patient with idiopathic CD4 lymphocytopenia

  • Asaff Harel
  • Sam Horng
  • Tarah Gustafson
  • Anil Ramineni
  • Rebecca Straus Farber
  • Michelle Fabian
Case Report


Progressive multifocal leukoencephalopathy (PML) is a rapidly progressive, often fatal viral infection of the brain without a known treatment. Recently, case reports have demonstrated survival from PML with therapies that improve cell-mediated immunity, including interleukin-7 (IL-7) or the chemokine receptor type 5 (CCR5) antagonist, maraviroc (MVC). We present the first known case of a patient with PML successfully treated with both IL-7 and MVC. A 63-year-old woman presented to our center with a 6-month history of progressive left hemiparesis. Extensive laboratory testing was negative except for a severe CD4 lymphocytopenia (140/μL). Serial brain MRIs done prior to presentation revealed an enlarging, non-enhancing T2-hyperintense lesion in the right fronto-parietal white matter. PML was confirmed through detection of the JC virus by PCR in the cerebrospinal fluid and by brain biopsy, and she was started on mirtazapine and mefloquine. She continued to deteriorate and was then given a course of recombinant IL-7. Though she remained clinically stable after IL-7 treatment and serum JCV PCR decreased from 1000 copies/mL to a nadir of 238 copies/mL, a repeat MRI 3 months later showed lesion enlargement. MVC was then initiated. Now, more than 2 years after initial presentation, she remains stable and serum JCV PCR is undetectable. This case demonstrates successful treatment of PML in a patient with idiopathic CD4 lymphocytopenia and highlights the potential benefits of IL-7 and MVC in the treatment of PML. Treatment with IL-7 and MVC led to clinical stability and improvement in JC virus titers.


Progressive multifocal leukoencephalopathy CD4 lymphocytopenia Interleukin-7 Maraviroc 



The authors thank Michel Morre and RevImmune for providing recombinant IL-7.

Funding information

This study was supported by an Institutional Clinical Training Award from the National Multiple Sclerosis Society.

Compliance with ethical standards

Conflict of interest

Asaff Harel has received consulting fees from Teva Pharmaceuticals.

Sam Horng reports no disclosures.

Tarah Gustafson reports no disclosures.

Anil Ramineni reports no disclosures.

Rebecca Straus Farber reports no disclosures.

Michelle Fabian has received consulting fees from Biogen pharmaceuticals.


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Copyright information

© Journal of NeuroVirology, Inc. 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Mount Sinai HospitalNew YorkUSA
  2. 2.Lenox Hill HospitalNew YorkUSA
  3. 3.Columbia University Medical CenterNew YorkUSA

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