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J Infect Dis. 2009 Aug 15;200(4):657-66. doi: 10.1086/603538.

Gene transcript abundance profiles distinguish Kawasaki disease from adenovirus infection.

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Department of Microbiology and Immunology, Stanford University School of Medicine, Stanford, , CA 94305, USA.



Acute Kawasaki disease (KD) is difficult to distinguish from other illnesses that involve acute rash or fever, in part because the etiologic agent(s) and pathophysiology remain poorly characterized. As a result, diagnosis and critical therapies may be delayed.


We used DNA microarrays to identify possible diagnostic features of KD. We compared gene expression patterns in the blood of 23 children with acute KD and 18 age-matched febrile children with 3 illnesses that resemble KD.


Genes associated with platelet and neutrophil activation were expressed at higher levels in patients with KD than in patients with acute adenovirus infections or systemic adverse drug reactions, but levels in patients with KD were not higher than those in patients with scarlet fever. Genes associated with B cell activation were also expressed at higher levels in patients with KD than in control subjects. A striking absence of interferon-stimulated gene expression in patients with KD was confirmed in an independent cohort of patients with KD. Using a set of 38 gene transcripts, we successfully predicted the diagnosis for 21 of 23 patients with KD and 7 of 8 patients with adenovirus infection.


These findings provide insight into the molecular features that distinguish KD from other febrile illnesses and support the feasibility of developing novel diagnostic reagents for KD based on the host response.

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