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Curr Allergy Asthma Rep. 2001 Nov;1(6):566-71.

The diagnosis and treatment of Whipple's disease.

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  • 1Deutsche Klinik für Diagnostik, Aukammallee 33, 65191 Wiesbaden, Germany.


Whipple's disease is a rare, chronic, and systemic infectious disease caused by the ubiquitously occurring bacterium Tropheryma whippelii. For two reasons, the disease represents a good example for documenting the input of modern molecular-based techniques into pathogenetic, diagnostic, and therapeutic concepts in clinical medicine. First, the unidentified and uncultivable causative organism has been characterized by novel molecular-genetic techniques. Second, in contrast to other chronic inflammatory disorders, clinical manifestations of T. whippelii infection seem to be based on reduced T-cell helper type 1 (TH1) activity. These findings have led to an improved pathophysiologic understanding of the disease and to new aspects in treatment strategies that are discussed in this paper.

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