Carbon disulfide neuropathy

Michael T Pulley MD PhD (

Dr. Pulley of the University of Florida, Jacksonville, received honorariums from Alexion, Bio Products Laboratories, CSL Behring, Catalyst, and Stealth BioTherapeutics for consulting work.

Louis H Weimer MD, editor. (

Dr. Weimer of Columbia University has received consulting fees from Roche.

Originally released December 3, 1999; last updated June 19, 2019; expires June 19, 2022


The author of this article discusses the rare clinical entity carbon disulfide neuropathy. This toxic neuropathy results in giant axonal swellings similar to those seen in acrylamide and hexacarbon neuropathy. This neuropathy is primarily due to occupational exposure, but disulfiram overdose can cause an acute form of the neuropathy.

Key points


• Carbon disulfide exposure is usually occupational and can cause a central-peripheral distal axonopathy.


• Giant axonal swellings in the peripheral nerves are likely related to impaired axonal transport and are also seen with hexacarbon and acrylamide neuropathy.

Historical note and terminology

Carbon disulfide is used in the production of cellophane films (Seppalainen and Haltia 1980) and viscose rayon fibers (Vigliani 1954). The neurotoxic effects resulting from exposure of Taiwanese workers to carbon disulfide has been reviewed (Huang 2004). In spite of the awareness regarding toxicity of this substance, exposure in the workplace continues, and the effects on the nervous system can be documented (Godderis et al 2006).

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