Hemophagocytosis: The cause of anemia and thrombocytopenia in congenital syphilis

Yarali N., Balaban I., Akyürek N., Uçar Ş., Zorlu P.

Pediatric Hematology and Oncology, vol.26, no.6, pp.461-466, 2009 (Peer-Reviewed Journal) identifier identifier

  • Publication Type: Article / Article
  • Volume: 26 Issue: 6
  • Publication Date: 2009
  • Doi Number: 10.1080/08880010903091897
  • Journal Name: Pediatric Hematology and Oncology
  • Journal Indexes: Science Citation Index Expanded, Scopus
  • Page Numbers: pp.461-466


Congenital syphilis is a rare, serious disease that continues to be a major health-care problem. The infected neonate may be asymptomatic or multiple-organ system involvement may occur. Anemia and thrombocytopenia are common hematological findings. Hemophagocytic lymphohistiocytosis (HLH) is a clinicopathological condition characterized by activation and uncontrolled nonmalignant proliferation of T lymphocytes and macrophages. The authors report an infant with congenital syphilis as a very rare cause of hemophagocytic syndrome. The reason for anemia and thrombocytopenia in congenital syphilis is not clear. The authors suggest that hemophagocytosis may play role in pathogenesis of cytopenia, particularly thrombocytopenia in patients with congenital syphilis. Copyright © Informa Healthcare USA, Inc.