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1/3. lung pathology of fatal severe acute respiratory syndrome.

    BACKGROUND: severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS) is a novel infectious disease with global impact. A virus from the family coronaviridae has been identified as the cause, but the pathogenesis is still unclear. methods: Post-mortem tissue samples from six patients who died from SARS in February and March, 2003, and an open lung biopsy from one of these patients were studied by histology and virology. Only one full autopsy was done. Evidence of infection with the SARS-associated coronavirus (SARS-CoV) and human metapneumovirus was sought by reverse-transcriptase PCR and serology. Pathological samples were examined by light and electron microscopy and immunohistochemistry. FINDINGS: All six patients had serological evidence of recent infection with SARS-CoV. Diffuse alveolar damage was common but not universal. Morphological changes identified were bronchial epithelial denudation, loss of cilia, and squamous metaplasia. Secondary bacterial pneumonia was present in one case. A giant-cell infiltrate was seen in four patients, with a pronounced increase in macrophages in the alveoli and the interstitium of the lung. Haemophagocytosis was present in two patients. The alveolar pneumocytes also showed cytomegaly with granular amphophilic cytoplasm. The patient for whom full autopsy was done had atrophy of the white pulp of the spleen. Electron microscopy revealed viral particles in the cytoplasm of epithelial cells corresponding to coronavirus. INTERPRETATION: SARS is associated with epithelial-cell proliferation and an increase in macrophages in the lung. The presence of haemophagocytosis supports the contention that cytokine dysregulation may account, at least partly, for the severity of the clinical disease. The case definition of SARS should acknowledge the range of lung pathology associated with this disease.
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2/3. Virus-associated hemophagocytic syndrome in an international traveler as a differential diagnosis of SARS.

    During the epidemic of severe acute respiratory syndrome in 2003, a 27-year- old Japanese woman presented a high fever and acute respiratory distress with pulmonary infiltrates after traveling to a high-risk area. An alternative diagnosis was made as Epstein-Barr virus-associated hemophagocytic syndrome, based on the proliferation of macrophages with hemophagocytosis in the bone marrow and Epstein-Barr viral marker profiles. Virus-associated hemophagocytic syndrome in an international traveler should be included in the differential diagnosis of severe acute respiratory syndrome.
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3/3. Detection of severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus in the brain: potential role of the chemokine mig in pathogenesis.

    BACKGROUND: Previous studies have shown that common human coronavirus might be neurotropic, although it was first isolated as a pathogen of the respiratory tract. We noticed that a few patients with severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS) experienced central nervous symptoms during the course of illness. In the present study, we isolated a SARS coronavirus strain from a brain tissue specimen obtained from a patient with SARS with significant central nervous symptoms. methods: Using transmission electronic microscopy and nested reverse transcription-polymerase chain reaction, the causative pathogen was identified in cultures of a brain tissue specimen obtained from the patient with SARS. Histopathologic examination of the brain tissue was performed using the methods of immunohistochemistry analysis and double immunofluorescence staining. Fifteen cytokines and chemokines were detected in the blood of the patient with SARS by means of a bead-based multiassay system. RESULTS: A fragment specific for SARS human coronavirus was amplified from cultures of the brain suspension, and transmission electronic microscopy revealed the presence of an enveloped virus morphologically compatible with a coronavirus isolated in the cultures. Pathologic examination of the brain tissue revealed necrosis of neuron cells and broad hyperplasia of gliocytes. Immunostaining demonstrated that monokine induced by interferon- gamma (Mig) was expressed in gliocytes with the infiltration of CD68 monocytes/macrophages and CD3 T lymphocytes in the brain mesenchyme. Cytokine/chemokine assay revealed that levels of interferon- gamma -inducible protein 10 and Mig in the blood were highly elevated, although the levels of other cytokines and chemokines were close to normal. CONCLUSIONS: This study provides direct evidence that SARS human coronavirus is capable of infecting the central nervous system, and that Mig might be involved in the brain immunopathology of SARS.
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