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Macrophage activation syndrome: it is generally a complication of another disease


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What is macrophage activation syndrome? It is a disease triggered, in most cases, by other pathologies.

A pathology caused by other serious diseases , macrophage activation syndrome involves the excessive activation of so-called scavenger cells. Let's see what are the causes and symptoms, as well as the therapy recommended by doctors in front of a diagnosis of this type.

Macrophage activation syndrome

Macrophage Activation Syndrome, abbreviated with the initials MAS from the English Macrophage Activation Syndrome , is an inflammatory disease caused by the excessive activation of macrophages . The latter are the so-called scavenger cells, which are responsible for eliminating infected cells. In this disease, however, they also kill healthy cells. Macrophage syndrome is generally a complication of another problem: systemic juvenile idiopathic arthritis, Kawasaki disease, systemic vasculitis, or systemic lupus erythematosus. In some cases, however, it can also be the first symptom of an undiagnosed rheumatological disease.

Macrophage activation syndrome has clear symptoms :

  • high fever that does not subside even with antipyretics;
  • skin rash;
  • enlargement of the lymph nodes, liver and spleen;
  • bleeding;
  • neurological problems, such as headache and seizures;
  • hepatic and / or renal insufficiency.

In particularly severe cases, the syndrome can result in failure of all organs. Diagnosis occurs in the presence of the symptoms listed above and with observation of some laboratory changes based on specific reference values. In any case, only the doctor can establish the presence or absence of the disease.

medical examination

Macrophage syndrome: therapy

After diagnosis, the doctor may recommend cortisone and cyclosporine treatment to the patient. In more severe forms of the disease, however, he may also prescribe potent chemotherapy drugs. Furthermore, researchers from the Bambino Gesù Hospital in Rome have carried out two studies that demonstrate the effectiveness of using an anti-interferon-gamma monoclonal antibody to counteract the syndrome.


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