Pathology of parainfluenza virus infection in patients with congenital immunodeficiency syndromes.
Infection with parainfluenza virus typically produces a mild, self-limited upper respiratory infection. However, parainfluenza infections have become increasingly recognized as a source of severe morbidity and mortality in immunocompromised patients. In this retrospective study we identified 6 patients with congenital immunodeficiency and positive respiratory cultures for parainfluenza virus who died and underwent complete autopsy. Tissues obtained at autopsy were studied using hematoxylin and eosin-stained sections, immunoperoxidase staining for parainfluenza virus, and in selected cases, electron microscopy. All 6 patients exhibited typical cytopathic effects of parainfluenza virus, including giant cell formation, in lung and/or bronchial tissues. Parainfluenza virus infection was also documented by giant cell formation and immunohistochemistry in the pancreas (in 3 of 6 patients) and the kidney or bladder (in 2 of 4 patients). Anti-parainfluenza antibody also specifically reacted with cells in the gastrointestinal tract (in 2 of 4), spleen (in 4 of 6), thymus and/or lymph nodes (in 4 of 4), and small blood vessels in various organs (in 4 of 6). Pancreatic, bladder, colon, and thymic epithelial cell lines were susceptible to experimental infections with clinical isolates of parainfluenza virus type 3 in vitro. Parainfluenza virus infection was serious in patients with congenital immunodeficiencies, contributing directly to death in 5 of the 6 patients studied. Because this virus is capable of infecting tissues in the gastrointestinal and urinary systems as well as in the respiratory tract, body secretions and fluids from each of these locations should be considered potentially infectious.
Madden, JF; Burchette, JL; Hale, LP
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