Background: Immunoproliferative small intestinal disease (also known as alpha chain disease) is a form of lymphoma that arises in small intestinal mucosa-associated lymphoid tissue (MALT) and is associated with the expression of a monotypic truncated immunoglobulin alpha heavy chain without an associated light chain. Early-stage disease responds to antibiotics, suggesting a bacterial origin. We attempted to identify a causative agent.
Methods: We performed polymerase chain reaction (PCR), DNA sequencing, fluorescence in situ hybridization, and immunohistochemical studies on intestinal-biopsy specimens from a series of patients with immunoproliferative small intestinal disease.
Results: Analysis of frozen intestinal tissue obtained from an index patient with immunoproliferative small intestinal disease who had a dramatic response to antibiotics revealed the presence of Campylobacter jejuni. A follow-up retrospective analysis of archival intestinal-biopsy specimens disclosed campylobacter species in four of six additional patients with immunoproliferative small intestinal disease.
Conclusions: These results indicate that campylobacter and immunoproliferative small intestinal disease are associated and that C. jejuni should be added to the growing list of human pathogens responsible for immunoproliferative states.
Copyright 2004 Massachusetts Medical Society