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August 1951

PENICILLIN THERAPY OF ASYMPTOMATIC NEUROSYPHILIS: The Spinal Fluid Cell Count as a Guide to Therapeutic Response and Re-treatment

Author Affiliations


From the Institute for the Study of Venereal Disease and the Department of Dermatology and Syphilology, University of Pennsylvania.

AMA Arch Intern Med. 1951;88(2):235-242. doi:10.1001/archinte.1951.03810080103010

IT HAS been shown by Dattner1 and others2 that the spinal fluid cell count is a sensitive index of activity of the syphilitic process in the nervous system. The cell count, easily the most available and dependable of the initial test procedures, is the first to become abnormal when the nervous system is involved and is also the first to respond to specific therapy. More than 20 years ago Dattner3 observed that in the malaria-treated patient the cell count returned to normal within six months after completion of the course of fever therapy. In those patients who failed to show a normal cell count six months after fever, there was progression of the disease.

It has been the experience of the Penicillin-Syphilis Panel of the University Hospital4 that after penicillin therapy for asymptomatic neurosyphilis the spinal fluid cell count usually reaches normal by the end of

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