Bone marrow involvement in Whipple's disease: rarely reported, but really rare?


Roland Walter, Department of Medicine, Medical Clinic B, University Hospital, Rämistrasse 100, CH-8091 Zürich, Switzerland. E-mail:


Infection with Tropheryma whippelii, the causative agent of Whipple's disease, involves nearly every organ. Involvement of bone marrow may be an overlooked area of Whipple's disease. We report a case of lymphoma-like Whipple's disease with bone marrow involvement together with a brief review of the literature on this topic. Despite minimal documentation, bone marrow may be commonly involved in Whipple's disease and, although not specific, diastase-resistant periodic acid-Schiff (PAS)-positive macrophages in bone marrow may offer an important clue to diagnosis using PAS histology of upper endoscopic biopsies, polymerase chain reaction or electron microscopy.