Clofazimine crystals in alveolar macrophages from a patient with the acquired immunodeficiency syndrome

Arch Pathol Lab Med. 1992 May;116(5):541-3.


An induced sputum specimen from a 35-year-old patient with the acquired immunodeficiency syndrome (AIDS) contained numerous bright orange-red needle-shaped crystal inclusions in his alveolar macrophages. Careful questioning revealed that he recently had been treated for 7 months with clofazimine (200 mg/d) for persistent Mycobacterium avium complex bacteremia. The striking cytologic finding observed is diagnosed easily if the characteristic morphologic appearance of the crystals and their location within the cytoplasm of macrophages and cells of the reticuloendothelial system is appreciated. Although this is the first observation at San Francisco (Calif) General Hospital of clofazimine crystals in a respiratory specimen from a patient with AIDS, the potential of more widespread therapy with clofazimine in patients with AIDS who are infected with M avium complex makes it imperative that the microscopic appearance of these crystals be recognized.

Publication types

  • Case Reports

MeSH terms

  • Acquired Immunodeficiency Syndrome / drug therapy
  • Acquired Immunodeficiency Syndrome / metabolism*
  • Adult
  • Clofazimine / pharmacokinetics*
  • Clofazimine / therapeutic use
  • Crystallization
  • Humans
  • Macrophages, Alveolar / metabolism*
  • Male
  • Sputum / cytology


  • Clofazimine