Lung pathology of fatal severe acute respiratory syndrome

Lancet
John M NichollsJ S Malik Peiris

Abstract

Severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS) is a novel infectious disease with global impact. A virus from the family Coronaviridae has been identified as the cause, but the pathogenesis is still unclear. Post-mortem tissue samples from six patients who died from SARS in February and March, 2003, and an open lung biopsy from one of these patients were studied by histology and virology. Only one full autopsy was done. Evidence of infection with the SARS-associated coronavirus (SARS-CoV) and human metapneumovirus was sought by reverse-transcriptase PCR and serology. Pathological samples were examined by light and electron microscopy and immunohistochemistry. All six patients had serological evidence of recent infection with SARS-CoV. Diffuse alveolar damage was common but not universal. Morphological changes identified were bronchial epithelial denudation, loss of cilia, and squamous metaplasia. Secondary bacterial pneumonia was present in one case. A giant-cell infiltrate was seen in four patients, with a pronounced increase in macrophages in the alveoli and the interstitium of the lung. Haemophagocytosis was present in two patients. The alveolar pneumocytes also showed cytomegaly with granular amphophilic cytoplasm. The patient fo...Continue Reading

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Methods Mentioned

BETA
biopsy
electron microscopy
transmission electron microscopy
PCR
electron

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