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Pediatr Dev Pathol. 1999 Nov-Dec;2(6):537-43.

Pathology of pyogenic liver abscess in children.

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Department of Pathology, Núcleo de Doenças Infecciosas CBM-UFES, Av Marechal Campos 1468, 29040-091 Vitória, ES Brazil.


Little is known about preexisting lesions in livers of children with pyogenic liver abscess (PLA). Study of these lesions may elucidate possible predisposing factors for the disease. In Vitória, state of Espirito Santo, Brazil, PLA in children is frequently associated with helminthic infections and eosinophilia. We hypothesize that nematode infection with larvae migrating through the liver is a predisposing factor for PLA, because the infection induces immunomodulation and likely trapping of bacteria in liver granulomas. In this report, we describe observations of 22 cases of PLA in children studied at autopsy (16 cases) or in surgical biopsies (6 cases), including 17 boys and 5 girls ranging in age from 1 to 13 years (mean 4.6 years, median 3.5 years). Multiple abscesses in both lobes were found in 13 cases and a single abscess was found in the right lobe in 10 cases. All cases showed histologically classical pyogenic inflammation without morphological evidence of amoebiasis. In six cases there were granulomas similar to those caused by larva migrans visceralis (from Toxocara or other nematodes) in liver tissue not affected by the abscess. Nematode antigens in central areas of necrosis of granuloma in all six cases and fragments of a larva, possibly of Toxocara, were found on samples immunohistochemically stained with polyclonal anti-Toxocara antibodies. There were numerous eosinophils in abscesses with Charcot-Leyden crystals. Eosinophils were found frequently in portal triads far from the abscess wall. In four cases, in which bile duct ascariasis was found, worms were noted in the bile ducts, and eggs were found in liver parenchyma surrounding the abscess in two cases. Foreign-body granulomas were found in one case in which penetrating trauma was the cause of abscess. In one case there was one histiocytic granuloma whose origin was not determined. The observation of six cases of granuloma similar to larva migrans visceralis (or produced by other nematode larva) in liver tissue not directly affected by the abscess supports the hypothesis that helminth infections with larva migrating through the liver are a predisposing factor for pyogenic hepatic abscess in children.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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