Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Common virus may contribute to uncommon bone disease in children

09.03.2004


A common virus may play a major role in causing a painful disease of immune cells that attacks children’s bones, according to a new study. The research may eventually lead to an easier diagnosis and to more effective treatments of the disease, Langerhans cell histiocytosis.



Researchers found evidence of the virus, human herpesvirus 6 (HHV-6) in the tissues of 25 of 35 children with Langerhans cell histiocytosis (LCH), compared to virus detected in only five of 19 children without LCH. The research team, led by John P. Dormans, M.D., director of Orthopaedic Surgery at The Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia, published its findings in the January/February issue of the Journal of Pediatric Orthopaedics.

Langerhans cells, found in the blood, play an active role in the immune system. An uncontrolled excess of Langerhans cells leads to LCH, with effects that range from a limited, spontaneously resolving illness to a chronic, life-threatening disease involving multiple organ systems. Although rare, occurring in approximately five children per million, LCH most commonly strikes bone, causing painful lesions or fractures.


"LCH is called the ’great imitator’ because it resembles particular bone cancers," said Dr. Dormans. "Fortunately, most children survive the disease these days." Most bone lesions resolve on their own without treatment. In other cases, surgeons successfully treat the disease by removing the abnormal area of bone.

However, successful treatment may elude physicians when LCH is chronic and affects multiple systems. Chemotherapy may succeed, at least temporarily, but only for 50 to 60 percent of patients. The cause of LCH remains unknown, and the Children’s Hospital researchers investigated its origins, with the goal of advancing treatments.

"It’s important to define whether LCH is primarily a tumor-like process or a reactive process, that is, one in which the immune system reacts to an infection or other insult," said Michael P. Glotzbecker, of the University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine, and the first author of the study. "Our research strengthens the case for a reaction to infection. Understanding the origin of the disease may help redefine the best treatment."

Previous researchers had proposed a role for HHV-6 infection in LCH, but the evidence was indirect, or was questioned on grounds of possible contamination. The current study was the first to identify the virus in the cytoplasm of immune cells called lymphocytes within LCH tissues. "Our findings suggest that after the HHV-6 virus infects lymphocytes, the body mounts an abnormal immune response resulting in the overproduction of Langerhans cells seen in LCH," said Mr. Glotzbecker. The researchers confirmed the presence of the virus with in situ hybridization, a testing technique.

The virus, HHV-6, is extremely common in children and adults, but usually is cleared out of the body or neutralized by a normally functioning immune system. In fact, the researchers found evidence of the virus in 5 of 18 tissue samples from children without LCH. "Because HHV-6 infection is so prevalent, but so few children get LCH, our results suggest that the virus interacts with some underlying predisposition to the disease," said Dr. Dormans.

"We don’t know what may cause a predisposition to this disease," continued Dr. Dormans, "but rethinking the cause of LCH may ultimately shift treatment away from chemotherapy toward antiviral treatments or approaches that modify the immune system." Much further research is necessary, he added, but in addition to guiding treatment, future research may lead to a simple blood test to diagnose the disease. "Such a test would be less invasive and certainly less painful for children than the tissue biopsy that we now must perform to diagnose LCH."


The National Institute of Child Health and Human Development provided support for part of the research. In addition to Dr. Dormans and Mr. Glotzbecker, the study’s third co-author is David F. Carpentieri, M.D., formerly a pathologist at The Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia, and now at Phoenix Children’s Hospital.

Founded in 1855 as the nation’s first pediatric hospital, The Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia is ranked today as the best pediatric hospital in the nation by U.S.News & World Report and Child magazine. Through its long-standing commitment to providing exceptional patient care, training new generations of pediatric healthcare professionals and pioneering major research initiatives, Children’s Hospital has fostered many discoveries that have benefited children worldwide. Its pediatric research program is among the largest in the country, ranking second in National Institutes of Health funding. In addition, its unique family-centered care and public service programs have brought the 430-bed hospital recognition as a leading advocate for children and adolescents from before birth through age 19. For more information, visit www.chop.edu.

Joey Marie McCool | EurekAlert!
Further information:
http://www.chop.edu

More articles from Health and Medicine:

nachricht Millions through license revenues
27.04.2017 | Rheinische Friedrich-Wilhelms-Universität Bonn

nachricht New High-Performance Center Translational Medical Engineering
26.04.2017 | Fraunhofer ITEM

All articles from Health and Medicine >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: Making lightweight construction suitable for series production

More and more automobile companies are focusing on body parts made of carbon fiber reinforced plastics (CFRP). However, manufacturing and repair costs must be further reduced in order to make CFRP more economical in use. Together with the Volkswagen AG and five other partners in the project HolQueSt 3D, the Laser Zentrum Hannover e.V. (LZH) has developed laser processes for the automatic trimming, drilling and repair of three-dimensional components.

Automated manufacturing processes are the basis for ultimately establishing the series production of CFRP components. In the project HolQueSt 3D, the LZH has...

Im Focus: Wonder material? Novel nanotube structure strengthens thin films for flexible electronics

Reflecting the structure of composites found in nature and the ancient world, researchers at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign have synthesized thin carbon nanotube (CNT) textiles that exhibit both high electrical conductivity and a level of toughness that is about fifty times higher than copper films, currently used in electronics.

"The structural robustness of thin metal films has significant importance for the reliable operation of smart skin and flexible electronics including...

Im Focus: Deep inside Galaxy M87

The nearby, giant radio galaxy M87 hosts a supermassive black hole (BH) and is well-known for its bright jet dominating the spectrum over ten orders of magnitude in frequency. Due to its proximity, jet prominence, and the large black hole mass, M87 is the best laboratory for investigating the formation, acceleration, and collimation of relativistic jets. A research team led by Silke Britzen from the Max Planck Institute for Radio Astronomy in Bonn, Germany, has found strong indication for turbulent processes connecting the accretion disk and the jet of that galaxy providing insights into the longstanding problem of the origin of astrophysical jets.

Supermassive black holes form some of the most enigmatic phenomena in astrophysics. Their enormous energy output is supposed to be generated by the...

Im Focus: A Quantum Low Pass for Photons

Physicists in Garching observe novel quantum effect that limits the number of emitted photons.

The probability to find a certain number of photons inside a laser pulse usually corresponds to a classical distribution of independent events, the so-called...

Im Focus: Microprocessors based on a layer of just three atoms

Microprocessors based on atomically thin materials hold the promise of the evolution of traditional processors as well as new applications in the field of flexible electronics. Now, a TU Wien research team led by Thomas Müller has made a breakthrough in this field as part of an ongoing research project.

Two-dimensional materials, or 2D materials for short, are extremely versatile, although – or often more precisely because – they are made up of just one or a...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

Fighting drug resistant tuberculosis – InfectoGnostics meets MYCO-NET² partners in Peru

28.04.2017 | Event News

Expert meeting “Health Business Connect” will connect international medical technology companies

20.04.2017 | Event News

Wenn der Computer das Gehirn austrickst

18.04.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

Wireless power can drive tiny electronic devices in the GI tract

28.04.2017 | Medical Engineering

Ice cave in Transylvania yields window into region's past

28.04.2017 | Earth Sciences

Nose2Brain – Better Therapy for Multiple Sclerosis

28.04.2017 | Life Sciences

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>