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J Infect Dis. 2002 Apr 15;185(8):1128-38. Epub 2002 Mar 21.

Presence of Rickettsia helvetica in granulomatous tissue from patients with sarcoidosis.

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Section of Infectious Diseases, Department of Medical Sciences, Uppsala University Hospital, Uppsala, Sweden.


In samples obtained during the autopsies of 2 patients with sarcoidosis, genetic material from Rickettsia helvetica was detected by polymerase chain reaction, and histologic and immunohistochemical examination (using 3 different antibodies) of the polymerase chain reaction-positive tissues showed different degrees of granuloma formation and presence of rickettsia-like organisms predominantly located in the endothelium and macrophages. Electron microscopic examination clearly identified and demonstrated rickettsia-like organisms within the granuloma, with findings suggestive of ongoing infection. Immunogold labeling with Proteus OX-19 antiserum showed that the gold markers were localized to the rickettsia-like organisms. Paraffin-embedded biopsy specimens from 30 patients with confirmed sarcoidosis were also reexamined, and 26 specimens were judged to be positive for rickettsia-like organisms by histologic and immunohistochemical examination. In a specimen from 1 patient, rickettsia-like organisms also were demonstrated and identified by transmission electron microscopy. These results support the hypothesis that rickettsiae may contribute to a granulomatous process, as is seen in sarcoidosis.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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