Axonal damage: a key predictor of outcome in human CNS diseases.
Medana IM., Esiri MM.
Axonal damage has recently been recognized to be a key predictor of outcome in a number of diverse human CNS diseases, including head and spinal cord trauma, metabolic encephalopathies, multiple sclerosis and other white-matter diseases (acute haemorrhagic leucoencephalitis, leucodystrophies and central pontine myelinolysis), infections [malaria, acquired immunodeficiency syndrome (AIDS) and infection with human lymphotropic virus type 1 (HTLV-I) causing HTLV-I-associated myelopathy (HAM)/tropical spastic paraparesis (TSP)] and subcortical ischaemic damage. The evidence for axonal damage and, where available, its correlation with neurological outcome in each of these conditions is reviewed. We consider the possible pathogenetic mechanisms involved and how increasing understanding of these may lead to more effective therapeutic or preventive interventions.