Letter | Published:

Spontaneous progressive multifocal leukoencephalopathy (PML) in macaques

Abstract

PROGRESSIVE multifocal leukoencephalopathy (PML) is a demyelinating disease of the central nervous system (CNS) which has so far been recognised only in man1,2. Although it is an infrequent cause of clinical neurological disorder3, it is of particular interest because of its frequent association with diseases in which immunological competence is impaired4–7, and because it is the only chronic demyelinating disease of man in which a virus (papovavirus) has been consistently demonstrated4,5,8,9. So far, efforts to transmit the disease to non-human primates have failed8. This report of a spontaneous disease in macaques with striking similarities to PML seems to be the first recorded instance of such a condition in animals.

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