A Case of Hyper-reactive Malarial Splenomegaly. The Role of Rapid Antigen-detecting and PCR-based Tests
Infectious Diseases Unit, Internal Medicine Department, Hospital de la Santa Creu i Sant Pau, Universitat de Barcelona, Barcelona, Spain.Infection (Impact Factor: 2.62). 05/2008; 36(2):167-9. DOI: 10.1007/s15010-007-6025-z
Hyper-reactive malarial splenomegaly (HMS) - originally referred to as tropical splenomegaly syndrome - is characterized by a massive splenomegaly, high titres of anti-malarial antibodies and polyclonal IgM hypergammaglobulinemia. It is believed to be a consequence of an aberrant immunological response to prolonged exposure to malarial parasites. Although it is a frequent disease in the tropics, it is infrequent in western countries and is only seen in long-term residents from endemic areas. We describe the case of a 67-year-old Spanish man, a missionary in Cameroon for 30 years, who presented with a clinical history that fulfilled the diagnosis of HMS. We discuss the role and importance of PCR-based techniques in demonstrating lowgrade malarial parasitemia and the usefulness of new rapid antigen-detecting dipstick tests.
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ABSTRACT: Hyperreactive malarial splenomegaly (HMS) is the chronic stage of a long-term stimulation of the immune system secondary to plasmodial infections, more frequently in genetically predisposed patients. HMS is a leading cause of large tropical splenomegaly in endemic zones but has been described in immigrants from Africa and in some European expatriates living in endemic countries. Diagnostic criteria include: long-term stay in a endemic zone, often large splenomegaly, high IgM titer, high antiplasmodial antibody titer, regression by at least 40% of splenomegaly six months after curative antimalarial treatment. In tropical settings, B-cell lymphoma and splenic lymphoma are the main differential diagnoses, which may be identified by a clonality analysis. Recent studies suggest that HMS can be treated by a short-term antimalarial therapy as long as the patient resides out of a malarial endemic country.
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ABSTRACT: Splenomegaly is frequent in acute or chronic forms of Plasmodium falciparum malaria, and splenectomy is associated with more frequent fever and parasitaemia. A novel role for the spleen in malaria is indicated by recent epidemiological and experimental data, bringing about a novel paradigm on severe malaria pathogenesis. In Sudanese children, severe malarial anaemia was associated with larger spleen, longer fever duration, and lower parasitaemia than cerebral malaria. These findings are consistent with evolution toward severe malarial anaemia being linked to the presence of a spleen-dependent mechanism that is absent or inefficient in cerebral malaria. An isolated-perfused human spleen model revealed unexpected retention of numerous erythrocytes harbouring young parasite stages (rings), probably through an innate mechanical process. A new paradigm is discussed, whereby the extent of erythrocyte retention in the spleen conditions not only haemoglobin concentration and spleen size but also the rate of parasite load increase. The prediction is that, in nonimmune children, stringent splenic retention of rings and uninfected erythrocytes reduces the risk of cerebral malaria (a complication associated with high parasite loads) but increases the risk of severe malarial anaemia. This hypothesis casts new light on epidemiological, genetic, and experimental studies in malaria pathogenesis.
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