What causes postpolio syndrome (PPS)?

Updated: Apr 28, 2014
  • Author: Hidehiro Takei, MD; Chief Editor: Adekunle M Adesina, MD, PhD  more...
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The etiology of postpolio syndrome (PPS) remains controversial; however, the most widely accepted hypothesis involves distal degeneration of greatly enlarged motor units that developed through terminal axonal sprouting for the reinnervation of denervated fibers during recovery after acute poliomyelitis. The motor units undergo a continuous remodeling process with denervation and reinnervation, followed by an eventual loss of this balanced process, which results in permanent denervation. [21, 22]

Other hypotheses include immunologic mechanisms (autoimmune or related to persistent poliovirus infection), the normal aging process, overuse myopathy, and disuse. [23] The latter 3 processes are likely contributing factors.

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