Whipple’s disease

  • G. R. Corazza
  • M. Di Stefano
  • M. A. Pistoia


In 1907, George Whipple described the case of an adult man who died from an unknown disease characterized by the presence of a massive infiltration of small intestinal mucosa by voluminous and foamy PAS+ macrophages, mesenterial adenopathy, pleuritis, pericarditis and endocarditis. Thus, the multisystemic nature of the disease was evident, right from the original description. Only very recently has it been recognized that the disorder is due to an infection with Tropheryma whippelii, a gram-positive actinomycetes, perhaps precipitated by a preexisting defect of cellular immunity. Such an infection may virtually involve all organs and tissues, thus making an impressive polymorphism in the clinical features possible.


Lamina Propria Original Magnification Small Intestinal Mucosa Massive Infiltration Histological Demonstration 
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Suggested reading

  1. Muller C, Peterman D, Stain C, Riemer H, Vogelsang H, Schnider P, Zeiler K, Wrba F (1997) Whipple’s disease: comparison of histology with diagnosis based on polymerase chain reaction in four consecutive cases. Gut 40:425–427PubMedGoogle Scholar
  2. Relman DA, Schmidt TM, McDermott RP, Falkow S (1992) Identification of the uncultured bacillus of Whipple’s disease. N Engl J Med 327:293–301Google Scholar
  3. Volpicelli NA, Salyer WR, Milligan FD, Bayless TM, Yardley JH (1976) The endoscopic appearance of the duodenum in Whipple’s disease. Johns Hopkins Med J 138:19–23PubMedGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Italia, Milano 1998

Authors and Affiliations

  • G. R. Corazza
  • M. Di Stefano
  • M. A. Pistoia

There are no affiliations available

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