Display Settings:

Format

Send to:

Choose Destination
See comment in PubMed Commons below
Clin Microbiol Rev. 2000 Apr;13(2):236-301.

Zygomycetes in human disease.

Author information

  • 1Departments of Pathology and Laboratory Medicine and of Clinical Laboratory Sciences, University of Kentucky, Lexington, KY 40536-0084, USA. jaribes@pop.uky.edu

Abstract

The Zygomycetes represent relatively uncommon isolates in the clinical laboratory, reflecting either environmental contaminants or, less commonly, a clinical disease called zygomycosis. There are two orders of Zygomycetes containing organisms that cause human disease, the Mucorales and the Entomophthorales. The majority of human illness is caused by the Mucorales. While disease is most commonly linked to Rhizopus spp., other organisms are also associated with human infection, including Mucor, Rhizomucor, Absidia, Apophysomyces, Saksenaea, Cunninghamella, Cokeromyces, and Syncephalastrum spp. Although Mortierella spp. do cause disease in animals, there is no longer sufficient evidence to suggest that they are true human pathogens. The spores from these molds are transmitted by inhalation, via a variety of percutaneous routes, or by ingestion of spores. Human zygomycosis caused by the Mucorales generally occurs in immunocompromised hosts as opportunistic infections. Host risk factors include diabetes mellitus, neutropenia, sustained immunosuppressive therapy, chronic prednisone use, iron chelation therapy, broad-spectrum antibiotic use, severe malnutrition, and primary breakdown in the integrity of the cutaneous barrier such as trauma, surgical wounds, needle sticks, or burns. Zygomycosis occurs only rarely in immunocompetent hosts. The disease manifestations reflect the mode of transmission, with rhinocerebral and pulmonary diseases being the most common manifestations. Cutaneous, gastrointestinal, and allergic diseases are also seen. The Mucorales are associated with angioinvasive disease, often leading to thrombosis, infarction of involved tissues, and tissue destruction mediated by a number of fungal proteases, lipases, and mycotoxins. If the diagnosis is not made early, dissemination often occurs. Therapy, if it is to be effective, must be started early and requires combinations of antifungal drugs, surgical intervention, and reversal of the underlying risk factors. The Entomophthorales are closely related to the Mucorales on the basis of sexual growth by production of zygospores and by the production of coenocytic hyphae. Despite these similarities, the Entomophthorales and Mucorales have dramatically different gross morphologies, asexual reproductive characteristics, and disease manifestations. In comparison to the floccose aerial mycelium of the Mucorales, the Entomophthorales produce a compact, glabrous mycelium. The asexually produced spores of the Entomophthorales may be passively released or actively expelled into the environment. Human disease with these organisms occurs predominantly in tropical regions, with transmission occurring by implantation of spores via minor trauma such as insect bites or by inhalation of spores into the sinuses. Conidiobolus typically infects mucocutaneous sites to produce sinusitis disease, while Basidiobolus infections occur as subcutaneous mycosis of the trunk and extremities. The Entomophthorales are true pathogens, infecting primarily immunocompetent hosts. They generally do not invade blood vessels and rarely disseminate. Occasional cases of disseminated and angioinvasive disease have recently been described, primarily in immunocompromised patients, suggesting a possible emerging role for this organism as an opportunist.

PMID:
10756000
[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
PMCID:
PMC100153
Free PMC Article

Images from this publication.See all images (20)Free text

FIG. 1
FIG. 2
FIG. 3
FIG. 4
FIG. 5
FIG. 6
FIG. 7
FIG. 8
FIG. 9
FIG. 10
FIG. 11
FIG. 12
FIG. 13
FIG. 14
FIG. 15
FIG. 16
FIG. 17
FIG. 18
FIG. 19
FIG. 20
PubMed Commons home

PubMed Commons

0 comments
How to join PubMed Commons

    Supplemental Content

    Icon for HighWire Icon for PubMed Central
    Loading ...
    Write to the Help Desk