Cytomegalovirus-infected cells in routinely prepared peripheral blood films of immunosuppressed patients

Robert J. Pooley, LoAnn Peterson, William G. Finn, Steven H. Kroft*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

11 Scopus citations


We describe 4 patients identified over 5 years with large atypical cells on the feathered edge of routinely prepared peripheral blood films. Films were reviewed either as part of a blood film consultation or a bone marrow examination. The cells were 50 to 60 μm in diameter, with granular eosinophilic cytoplasmic inclusions and eccentric enlarged nuclei. Additional studies including buffy coat preparations and immunohistochemistry revealed that these were circulating cytomegalovirus (CMV)-infected cells, most likely of endothelial origin. All patients were immunocompromised (3 had HIV infection, and 1 was an organ transplant recipient) and had clinical evidence of CMV infection. The unique appearance of these cells at Wright-Giemsa staining, and their possible misidentification as malignant cells or other cells, highlights the need for pathologists to be aware of their morphologic features and possible clinical implication.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)108-112
Number of pages5
JournalAmerican journal of clinical pathology
Issue number1
StatePublished - 1999


  • Cytomegalovirus
  • Endothelia cell
  • Immunosuppression
  • Peripheral blood
  • Transplant

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pathology and Forensic Medicine

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