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Curr Fungal Infect Rep. 2011 Dec 1;5(4):252-261.

Cryptococcus-Related Immune Reconstitution Inflammatory Syndrome(IRIS): Pathogenesis and Its Clinical Implications.

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Division of Infectious Disease & International Medicine, Department of Medicine, University of Minnesota, Minneapolis, MN, USA.


This review provides an overview of Cryptococcus neoformans immunology and focuses on the pathogenesis of Cryptococcus-related paradoxical immune reconstitution inflammatory syndrome (IRIS). Cryptococcal IRIS has three phases: (1) before antiretroviral therapy (ART), with a paucity of cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) inflammation and defects in antigen clearance; (2) during initial ART immune recovery, with pro-inflammatory signaling by antigen-presenting cells without an effector response; and (3) at IRIS, a cytokine storm with a predominant type-1 helper T-cell (Th(1)) interferon-gamma (IFN-γ) response. Understanding IRIS pathogenesis allows for risk stratification and customization of HIV/AIDS care. In brief, persons at high IRIS risk may benefit from enhancing microbiologic clearance by use of adjunctive agents in combination with amphotericin, prolonging initial induction therapy, and/or increasing the initial consolidation antifungal therapy dose to at least 800 mg of fluconazole daily until the 2-week CSF culture is known to be sterile. Prophylactic anti-inflammatory therapies or undue delay of ART initiation in an attempt to prevent IRIS is unwarranted and may be dangerous.

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