Diagnosis and follow-up of Whipple's disease by amplification of the 16S rRNA gene of Tropheryma whippelii

Eur J Clin Microbiol Infect Dis. 1999 Jan;18(1):62-5. doi: 10.1007/s100960050228.


Amplification of the 16S rRNA gene of Tropheryma whippelii was performed in eight patients with Whipple's disease and 34 control patients to confirm a diagnosis of Whipple's disease and to monitor the course of disease. Polymerase chain reaction (PCR) tests were positive before treatment in 13 of 15 tissue samples from Whipple's disease patients (gut 8/8; lymph nodes 2/2; bone marrow 1/2; peripheral blood 2/3), in contrast to none of 54 tissue samples from controls. PCR tests converted to negative within 4-6 months in six of the Whipple's disease patients undergoing therapy. These results show that PCR is a reliable and useful tool for diagnosis of Whipple's disease and for monitoring bacterial elimination during antibiotic therapy.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Actinobacteria / genetics
  • Actinobacteria / isolation & purification*
  • Adult
  • Anti-Bacterial Agents / therapeutic use
  • DNA, Bacterial / analysis
  • Female
  • Gene Amplification
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Polymerase Chain Reaction
  • RNA, Bacterial / genetics*
  • RNA, Ribosomal, 16S / genetics*
  • Whipple Disease / diagnosis*
  • Whipple Disease / drug therapy
  • Whipple Disease / microbiology*


  • Anti-Bacterial Agents
  • DNA, Bacterial
  • RNA, Bacterial
  • RNA, Ribosomal, 16S