Ehrlichia-Induced Hemophagocytic Lymphohistiocytosis in Two Children

Thomas Jefferson University Medical College, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, USA.
Pediatric Blood & Cancer (Impact Factor: 2.56). 04/2011; 56(4):661-3. DOI: 10.1002/pbc.22814
Source: PubMed

ABSTRACT Two children presented with a history of fever and rash. Lab values revealed pancytopenia, elevated ferritin, coagulopathy, and elevated triglycerides. Both children quickly developed respiratory distress and hypotension requiring admission to the ICU. Bone marrow biopsies revealed hemophagocytosis. Studies for Ehrlichia returned positive. The patients were started on doxycycline and treated for hemophagocytic lymphohistiocytosis (HLH). Each made a full recovery. In both patients, testing for MUNC and perforin genes were found to have no mutation. These two cases demonstrate the importance of considering Ehrlichiosis as a possible trigger of HLH.

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    ABSTRACT: Hemophagocytic lymphohistiocytosis (HLH) covers a wide array of related life-threatening conditions featuring ineffective immunity characterized by an uncontrolled hyperinflammatory response. HLH is often triggered by infection. Familial forms result from genetic defects in natural killer cells and cytotoxic T-cells, typically affecting perforin and intracellular vesicles. HLH is likely under-recognized, which contributes to its high morbidity and mortality. Early recognition is crucial for any reasonable attempt at curative therapy to be made. Current treatment regimens include immunosuppression, immune modulation, chemotherapy, and biological response modification, followed by hematopoietic stem-cell transplant (bone marrow transplant). A number of recent studies have contributed to the understanding of HLH pathophysiology, leading to alternate treatment options; however, much work remains to raise awareness and improve the high morbidity and mortality of these complex conditions.
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