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J Invest Dermatol. 2000 Nov;115(5):901-5.

Detection of xanthomegnin in epidermal materials infected with Trichophyton rubrum.

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  • 1Division of Dermatology, Department of Medicine, Sunnybrook and Women's College Health Sciences Center (Sunnybrook site), and the University of Toronto, Toronto, Ontario, Canada. agupta@execulink.com


Xanthomegnin, a mutagenic mycotoxin best known as an agent of nephropathy and death in farm animals exposed to food-borne Penicillium and Aspergillus fungi, was first isolated about 35 y ago as a diffusing pigment from cultures of the dermatophyte, Trichophyton megninii. This study investigates the production of xanthomegnin by the most common dermatophytic species, Trichophyton rubrum, both in dermatologic nail specimens and in culture. In view of the labile nature of xanthomegnin, a chromatographic procedure was developed to allow high-performance liquid chromatography analysis within 1 h of sample extraction. In cultures, Tricho- phyton rubrum produced xanthomegnin as a major pigment that appears to give the culture its characteristic red colony reverse. Xanthomegnin was also repeatedly extracted from human nail and skin material infected by Trichophyton rubrum. The level of xanthomegnin present, however, varied among the clinical samples studied. Xanthomegnin was not detected in uninfected nails. These results show that patients with Trichophyton rubrum infections may be exposed to xanthomegnin, although the consequences of such an exposure are not currently known.

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