Mysterious disease affecting children may be caused by infection, according to scientists from University of the Philippines – National Institute of Molecular Biology and Biotechnology (UP-NIMBB).

Kawasaki disease is a disease that causes inflammation of medium-sized blood vessels around the body. Mostly affecting children below five years old, it is the most common cause of acquired heart disease in children such as abnormalities in the coronary artery. If left untreated, the disease may result to death.

First reported in Japan in January 1961, more than half a century later, scientists from all over the world are still baffled with what was causing of the disease. Some studies point out that the disease may be caused by an infection of a still unknown causative agent. Other studies hypothesize that the disease may be hereditary as it is commonly seen on Asian descents.

Results of the study on Kawasaki disease on Filipino children supported claims of that the disease may be triggered by an infectious agent.

UP-NIMBB researchers found that the T cells of participating patients were activated by a superantigen. T cells are a type of white blood cells that helps the body’s immune system. During an infection, the T cells are activated as response to the release of antigens of the invading germs such as viruses, bacteria and other infectious agents. While ordinary antigen can trigger only about .001-.0001% of the body’s T-cells, a superantigen can activate as much as 25% of the immune system’s T cells.

During the study, the UP-NIMBB researchers performed tests on the patients’ T cells. Results of study showed that all Kawasaki disease patients were found to have dramatic elevation of T cells, suggesting involvement of a superantigen. Researchers discussed that the result of study supported claims of other studies that the disease might be triggered by an infection.

Even though it was not able to pinpoint the infectious agent that causes the illness, researchers believe that the study has been significant as it the first ever to be conducted on Filipino Kawasaki disease patients. They insisted that because most studies were done to Japanese and Korean patients, studies on the disease as it relates to the Filipinos are unheard of. The UP-NIMBB researchers believe their research laid down the foundation for future studies on Kawasaki disease in the Philippines.

Reference:

Natividad, M., Torres-Villanueva, C., & Saloma, C. (2013). Superantigen involvement and susceptibility factors in kawasaki disease: profiles of tcr vβ2 t cells and hla-drb1, tnf-α and itpkc genes among filipino patients. International Journal of Molecular Epidemiology and Genetics, 4(1), 70–76.

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3 responses »

  1. Agnes says:

    Hi. My daughter was diagnosed with atypical kawasaki disease on the day of her 1st birthday. she had fever for a total of four days, had conjunctivitis (redness of the white part of the eyes,), and her blood tests showed high levels (way way above the normal ranges)of ESR and CR-P, both of which, though not indicative of KD, are indicative of inflammations, she had skin peeling around her fingernails and toenails, and red lips. She had a 2D echo done and the results showed small pericardial effusion (water in her heart) and trivial tricuspid regurgitation (some of the blood sort of backflows, instead of flowing through one direction only). Her pediatrician DID NOT recommend IV+IG and aspirin, because both are highly invasive and aspirin is linked to Reye’s Syndrome. Instead, our daughter was treated with natural supplements, one for the heart, one for the arteries and another to boost immunity. Her repeat 2D echo after two weeks from the onset of fever showed absolutely normal results, the pericardial effusion resolved, and the doppler study didn’t show the regurgitation anymore. those few weeks were the most trying weeks in our family’s life, but thankfully, everything is okay now. If anyone needs information on my daughter’s pediatrician, please feel free to message me at agnes_mm@yahoo.com. Hope this helps. 🙂

  2. Ednalyn ermita says:

    Hi my daughter cassey ermita a 3yr old. She was diagnosed a typical KD but does not have fever.. She never under go 2d echo because lack of financial. Im from philippines, Only the bump on the tongue strawberry tongue and slightly red lips.. Just seeking to help us i need badly foundation for my daugther had a typical KD i have no money to unger go 2D echo im from philippines please help me to have money to pay the IVIG begging please help us

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