Gastrointestinal Manifestations of Immunodeficiency: Imaging Spectrum

Malak Itani, Neeraj Kaur, Abhijit Roychowdhury, Vincent M. Mellnick, Meghan G. Lubner, Anil K. Dasyam, Lokesh Khanna, Srinivasa R. Prasad, Venkata S. Katabathina

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

3 Scopus citations


There is a wide spectrum of hereditary and acquired immunodeficiency disorders that are characterized by specific abnormalities involving a plethora of humoral, cellular, and phagocytic immunologic pathways. These include distinctive primary immunodeficiency syndromes due to characteristic genetic defects and secondary immunodeficiency syndromes, such as AIDS from HIV infection and therapy-related immunosuppression in patients with cancers or a solid organ or stem cell transplant. The gut mucosa and gut-associated lymphoid tissue (the largest lymphoid organ in the body), along with diverse commensal microbiota, play complex and critical roles in development and modulation of the immune system. Thus, myriad gastrointestinal (GI) symptoms are common in immuno-compromised patients and may be due to inflammatory conditions (graft versus host disease, neutropenic enterocolitis, or HIV-related proctocolitis), opportunistic infections (viral, bacterial, fungal, or protozoal), or malignancies (Kaposi sarcoma, lymphoma, posttransplant lymphoproliferative disorder, or anal cancer). GI tract involvement in immunodeficient patients contributes to significant morbidity and mortality. Along with endoscopy and histopathologic evaluation, imaging plays an integral role in detection, localization, characterization, and distinction of GI tract manifestations of various immunodeficiency syndromes and their complications. Select disorders demonstrate characteristic findings at fluoroscopy, CT, US, and MRI that permit timely and accurate diagnosis.While neutropenic enterocolitis affects the terminal ileum and right colon and occurs in patients receiving chemotherapy for hematologic malignancies, Kaposi sarcoma commonly manifests as bull’s-eye lesions in the stomach and duodenum. Imaging is invaluable in treatment follow-up and long-term surveillance as well.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)759-777
Number of pages19
Issue number3
StatePublished - May 1 2022


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