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Eur J Pediatr. 1993 Jan;152(1):31-5.

Lymphocyte production of gamma-interferon as a test for non-tuberculous mycobacterial lymphadenitis in childhood.

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Department of Surgery, Royal Children's Hospital, Melbourne, Australia.


Infection with Mycobacterium avium, M. intracellulare and M. scrofulaceum (MAIS) organisms in normal children may result in cervical lymphadenopathy. There is a poor response to anti-tuberculous therapy and surgical excision of infected nodes is necessary. The diagnosis therefore requires consideration in children with cervical lymphadenopathy. A simple in vitro assay is described which may be useful for diagnosis prior to excision. Whole blood is cultured with M. avium purified protein derivative. After 24 h the plasma is removed and the concentration of gamma interferon (IFN-gamma) quantified by a radioimmunometric assay. In a prospective study of 38 children with neck lesions, 16 showed MAIS organisms isolated from cultures of excised tissue. The level of IFN-gamma produced by peripheral blood lymphocytes from children in the MAIS group was significantly greater when compared with children having operations for neck lesions that were not due to MAIS organisms (P < 0.001).

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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