Molecular diagnosis of a mycobacterium chelonae infection

Stephan Schulz, Markus Kremer, Antonello D. Cabras, Andreas Lügering, Matthias Seidel, Heinz Höfler, Martin Werner

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


A 23-year-old female presented with enlarged cervical lymph nodes, and a diagnosis of nonspecific lymphadenitis with formation of pyogranulomas was rendered. Despite an initial oral antibiosis and subsequent long-term intravenous and oral antibiosis under hospitalized conditions, the symptoms progressed. The lymph nodes became larger and then affected the cervical region bilaterally. Her general condition worsened, and an exanthema of the extremities accompanied by a reactive arthritis occurred. Serological assays of various viral and bacterial markers and blood cultures were negative. Application of a polymerase chain reaction (PCR) protocol allowing specific amplification of mycobacterial DNA revealed DNA of Mycobacterium chelonea in formalin-fixed, paraffin-embedded lymph node tissue. Sequencing of the PCR product showed a 97% homology with the known Mycobacterium chelonae sequence. Modification of the antibiotic therapy with clarithromycin, imipenem and amikacin resulted in a rapid regression of the symptoms. The clinical course, in combination with the difficulties in detecting the infectious agent, supports the usefulness of molecular pathological analyses specific for nontuberculous mycobacteria (NTM).

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)123-126
Number of pages4
JournalPathology Research and Practice
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 2001


  • Antituberculosis drugs
  • Cervical lymphadenitis
  • Molecular pathology
  • Mycobacterium chelonae
  • Nontuberculous mycobacteria

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pathology and Forensic Medicine


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