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Infect Immun. 1984 Jan;43(1):320-5.

Correlation of elastase production by some strains of Aspergillus fumigatus with ability to cause pulmonary invasive aspergillosis in mice.


Seventy-five strains of Aspergillus fumigatus were screened for production of elastase in liquid and agar media containing elastin in yeast carbon base buffered with 0.05 M borate, pH 7.6. Of 71 strains which cleared elastin in agar plates, 33 produced elastase in liquid medium, as measured spectrophotometrically with elastin-Congo red. Six strains producing elastase and four nonproducers were tested for ability to cause invasive aspergillosis in immunocompromised mice (six mice per strain). All 36 mice exposed to elastase-producing strains died within 48 to 96 h. Lung tissue from dead mice showed hyphae and necrosis of the alveoli. Lungs of mice exposed to spores of strains not producing elastase showed few germinated spores and no destruction of alveoli. These results indicate that elastase may be significant in the invasion process.

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