Granulomatous infections: etiology and classification

Clin Infect Dis. 1996 Jul;23(1):146-58. doi: 10.1093/clinids/23.1.146.


Granulomatous disorders are frequently due to a wide variety of infections. Over the past decade advances in molecular diagnostic techniques have allowed identification of organisms involved in granulomatous disorders that previously were of unknown etiology. On the basis of currently available information, granulomatous infections can now be classified in three categories. Group 1 infections are due to a well-recognized organism. Group 2 comprises infections due to organisms that have been recently identified in granulomas by molecular methods but are not readily isolated by conventional microbiological techniques. Group 3 consists of disorders for which the causal organisms have not yet been identified but are strongly suspected; further advances in diagnostic techniques will lead to reclassification of some of these disorders as group 2. This review describes the etiology, histopathologic features, and classification of granulomatous disorders, with an emphasis on those of groups 2 and 3.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Bacterial Infections / etiology
  • Cat-Scratch Disease / etiology
  • Crohn Disease / etiology
  • Granuloma / classification*
  • Granuloma / diagnosis
  • Granuloma / etiology*
  • Granulomatous Disease, Chronic / etiology
  • Helminthiasis / etiology
  • Humans
  • Infections / classification*
  • Infections / diagnosis
  • Infections / etiology*
  • Liver Cirrhosis, Biliary / etiology
  • Mycobacterium Infections / etiology
  • Mycoses / etiology
  • Protozoan Infections / etiology
  • Sarcoidosis / etiology
  • Treponemal Infections / etiology
  • Virus Diseases / etiology