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J Infect Dis. 2001 Jun 15;183(12):1822-4. Epub 2001 May 16.

Chronic infection and reactivation in a pulmonary challenge model of histoplasmosis.

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Department of Medicine, Indiana University School of Medicine, Indianapolis, Indiana, USA.


Reactivation may be a mechanism for the development of histoplasmosis in AIDS. In this study, histoplasmosis was reactivated by the depletion of CD4 and CD8 lymphocytes in mice. CD4 and/or CD8 depletion beginning 1 month after intratracheal infection and continuing for 2 months caused reactivation with a 2.1 log/g increase in the lungs and a 1.5 log increase in the spleen of B6C3F1 mice. Because control animals showed persistent infection, a subsequent experiment sought to determine the long-term outcome in competent mice. Twelve of 32 immunocompetent mice died at weeks 26-52 of infection, and 4 survivors appeared to be clinically ill; all ill mice had high fungus burdens, whereas cultures were sterile in the healthy mice. Eight of the surviving healthy-appearing mice underwent autopsy 2 years after infection, and cultures were sterile. Thus, 16 of 32 immunocompetent mice exhibited progressive infection. CD4 and/or CD8 depletion exacerbated infection, but a chronic progressive and ultimately fatal infection occurred in half the immunocompetent mice.

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