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J Infect Chemother. 2013 Apr;19(2):316-20. doi: 10.1007/s10156-012-0464-x. Epub 2012 Aug 31.

Long-term control of CMV retinitis in a patient with idiopathic CD4+ T lymphocytopenia.

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Department of Ophthalmology, National Center for Global Health and Medicine, 1-21-1 Toyama Shinjuku-ku, Tokyo, Japan.


Cytomegalovirus (CMV) retinitis with idiopathic CD4(+) T lymphocytopenia (ICL) is rare and difficult to control. We report a first case for long-term control of CMV retinitis with ICL using interleukin-2 (IL-2) therapy and succeeded in discontinuation of anti-CMV therapy. A 49-year-old Japanese woman was diagnosed with ICL based on low CD4(+) count (72/μl), negative for HIV-1 and -2 antibodies, and absence of any defined immunodeficiency diseases or immunosuppressive therapy. PCR test of the aqueous humor in the right eye was suggestive of CMV retinitis. She was treated with systemic ganciclovir, but after several relapses of CMV retinitis, rhegmatogenous retinal detachment appeared in the right eye and she became blind in that eye. Three years later, she developed CMV retinitis in the left eye. Although she received systemic and focal anti-CMV treatments, the retinitis showed no improvement. Finally, retinal detachment occurred, and she underwent vitrectomy. IL-2 was injected to increase CD4(+) counts. Because of hyperpyrexia, blepharedema, central scotoma, and color anomaly, we changed to low-dose IL-2 therapy with no side effects. Finally, we succeeded in increasing the CD4(+) count to more than 200/μl after discontinuation of low-dose IL-2 therapy. CMV retinitis never recurred after discontinuation of anti-CMV therapy, with good visual acuity of 20/20 in the left eye. She developed blindness of the first affected right eye, whereas the visual acuity of the left eye remains excellent more than 12 years after the onset of CMV retinitis through the combined use of anti-CMV therapy, IL-2 therapy, and vitrectomy.

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