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Lab Invest. 1994 Jul;71(1):113-26.

Experimental murine pulmonary cryptococcosis. Differences in pulmonary inflammation and lymphocyte recruitment induced by two encapsulated strains of Cryptococcus neoformans.

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Pulmonary Section, Department of Veterans Affairs Medical Center, Ann Arbor, MI.



Cryptococcus neoformans, the most common cause of lethal mycosis in AIDS, usually causes only subclinical pneumonitis in normal hosts. However, cryptococcosis can induce various pulmonary inflammatory reactions, and pulmonary cellular immunity is postulated to prevent dissemination. We hypothesized that cryptococcal strains possess different capacities to induce recruitment to the lungs of inflammatory cells, especially lymphocytes, which are necessary for cryptococcal clearance.


We examined the pulmonary response of CBA/J mice to intratracheal inoculation with C. neoformans of either of two strains: 52D (ATCC 24067), which rarely kills immunocompetent mice; and 145A (ATCC 62070), which is uniformly fatal. From 2-42 days after inoculation, lungs were either examined grossly and microscopically or were enzymatically digested and inflammatory cells counted and analyzed by flow cytometry. At 42 days, organism burden in lung and brain was quantified by colony-forming unit assay.


Pulmonary inflammation differed greatly between the two strains. Strain 52D induced dense perivascular and alveolar inflammation; infection progressed to day 21 and then waned. In contrast, strain 145A induced delayed, meager lymphocytic infiltration and slight alveolitis; organisms grew progressively. Recovery of inflammatory cells increased by day 13 with strain 52D, but not until day 31 with strain 145A. Although all lymphocyte subsets were greater in 52D infection, the disparity was greatest for CD4+ T cells. Nevertheless, lymphocytes from paratracheal nodes of infected mice proliferated in vitro to heat-killed cryptococci, indicating immune recognition of both strains. At day 42, strain 52D lightly infected lungs but not brain, whereas strain 145A heavily infected lungs and brain. CONCLUSIONS; Cryptococcal strains differ in their capacity to induce pulmonary cellular inflammation, especially CD4+ T cell recruitment. Our results suggest that strain-specific difference in the organism's ability to induce (or evade) pulmonary inflammation contributes to the outcome of infection.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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