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Cell Microbiol. 2012 Dec;14(12):1819-27. doi: 10.1111/cmi.12027. Epub 2012 Oct 11.

Real-time in vivo imaging of fungal migration to the central nervous system.

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Virginia-Maryland Regional College of Veterinary Medicine, University of Maryland, College Park, MD 20742, USA.

Erratum in

  • Cell Microbiol. 2013 May;15(5):841. Calaruso, Pina [corrected to Colarusso, Pina].


Recent technical advances have afforded valuable new insights into the pathogenesis of fungal infections in the central nervous system (CNS), which continue to cause devastating complications, particularly in immunocompromised individuals. To cause CNS mycosis, organisms such as Cryptococcus neoformans become blood borne and progress through a series of pathogenic checkpoints that culminate in fungal replication in the brain. Critical steps include fungal arrest in the vasculature of the brain, interaction and signalling of the fungal and endothelial cells leading to transmigration with subsequent parenchymal invasion and fungal replication in the CNS. Previous studies that made use of in vitro and ex vivo approaches contributed greatly to our understanding of brain invasion by fungi. However, the knowledge gained from previous studies relied on in vitro models that did not account for vascular haemodynamics. For this reason, more refined approaches that model blood flow and vascular anatomy are required, andultimately studying fungal invasion and dissemination in vivo. Indeed, in vivo imaging (also known as intravital imaging) has emerged as a valuable technique to probe host-pathogen interactions. In this review, with a focus on C.‚ÄČneoformans, we will provide an overview of the applications of the prior techniques and recent advances, their strengths and limitations in characterizing the migration of fungi into the brain, and unanswered questions that may provide new directions for research.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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