A histopathologic study of persistent generalized lymphadenopathy in intravenous drug abusers

A. Carbone, R. Manconi, A. Poletti, R. Volpe

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Persistent generalized lymphadenopathy (PGL) has been reported in groups at risk for the acquired immunodeficiency syndrome including intravenous (iv) drug abusers. The authors investigated the histology of the lymph node biopsies obtained from 18 iv heroin abusers. All the patients (13 males and 5 females; median age 23.5) had generalized lymphadenopathy. This was associated with one or more systemic symptoms in 72% of the cases. Immunologic abnormalities were present in most of the patients. The overall histological picture consisted of a fairly repetitive pattern dominated by an exuberant and diffuse hyperplasia of frequently misshapen and poorly outlined follicles, associated with a striking proliferation of capillary vessels and a very consistent amount of plasma cells both extending in the follicular and interfollicular areas. Multinucleated giant cells of the Warthin-Finkeldey type ('mulberry cells') were encountered in 22% of the cases. It would appear that in the follicular district the most indicative diagnostic clues of PGL can be obtained if one considers the abnormal morphology of the follicles associated with a consistent presence of plasma cells and a scattered fine network of proliferating capillary vessels.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)195-199
Number of pages5
JournalPathology Research and Practice
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 1986

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pathology and Forensic Medicine


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