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Dennie-Marfan syndrome

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Spastic paraplegia of the lower extremities and mental retardation in children with congenital syphilis. Both sexes affected; onset insidious or acute in infancy or childhood. Slow progression from weakness to tetraparesis. Epilepsy, cataract, and nystagmus may occur.

Dennie in 1929 first described eight cases, and Marfan added to the subject in 1936. In five of the patients the onset was so insidious that the syndrome was overlooked for months. In the other patients there was sudden violent illness with vomiting, fever, convulsions, unconsciousness, and spastic paralysis of the extremities. All patients exhibited complete inability to walk, paralysis was of the flaccid type or spastic type. Mental retardation was evident in each patient.


  • C. C. Dennie:
    Partial paralysis of the lower extremities in children, accompanied by backward mental development.
    American Journal of Syphilis, 1929, 13: 157-163.
  • A. B. Marfan:
    Paraplégie spasmodique avec troubles cérébraux d'origine hérédo-syphilitique chez les grands enfants.
    Revue francaise de pédiatrie, 1936, 12: 1-16.

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