Infectious Diseases

  • Paolo Tortori-Donati
  • Andrea Rossi
  • Roberta Biancheri


The central nervous system (CNS) and its covering membranes may be involved in a variety of infectious processes, either during intrauterine development or in postnatal life [1]. Although the CNS is normally protected by the meninges and blood-brain barrier (BBB), it is more vulnerable to infectious agents than any other tissue, due to the lack of a true lymphatic system, the little resistance to infection offered by the subarachnoid space, and the fact that CSF facilitates infection spread over the brain and spinal cord and into the ventricles [2]. Furthermore, capillaries are absent in the subarachnoid space itself and there are tight junctions between intra- and extracranial venous system (i.e., without valves). Early recognition of CNS infection in the pediatric age group is extremely important due to the great potential for permanent damage in survivors. Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) has greatly facilitated early diagnosis, and is today the gold standard in imaging of CNS infectious disorders.


Human Immunodeficiency Virus Bacterial Meningitis Lyme Disease Brain Abscess Central Nervous System Involvement 
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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2005

Authors and Affiliations

  • Paolo Tortori-Donati
    • 1
  • Andrea Rossi
    • 1
  • Roberta Biancheri
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of Pediatric NeuroradiologyG. Gaslini Children’s Research HospitalGenoaItaly

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