The diagnosis and treatment of whipple’s disease
- Cite this article as:
- Marth, T. Curr Allergy Asthma Rep (2001) 1: 566. doi:10.1007/s11882-001-0066-7
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Whipple’s disease is a rare, chronic, and systemic infectious disease caused by the ubiquitously occuring bacterium Tropheryma whippelii. For two reasons, the disease represents a good example for documenting the input of modern molecular-based techniques into pathogenetic, diagnostic, and therapeutic concepts in clinical medicine. First, the unidentified and uncultivable causative organism has been characterized by novel molecular-genetic techniques. Second, in contrast to other chronic inflammatory disorders, clinical manifestations of T. whippelii infection seem to be based on reduced T-cell helper type 1 (TH1) activity. These findings have led to an improved pathophysiologic understanding of the disease and to new aspects in treatment strategies that are discussed in this paper.