A common virus may play a major role in causing a painful disease of immune cells that attacks childrens 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 Childrens 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.
Joey Marie McCool | EurekAlert!
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