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Am J Clin Pathol. 1996 Oct;106(4):535-43.

Disseminated microsporidiosis especially infecting the brain, heart, and kidneys. Report of a newly recognized pansporoblastic species in two symptomatic AIDS patients.

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Department of Pathology and Laboratory Medicine, University of Florida College of Medicine, Gainesville, USA.


Microsporidia have emerged as important opportunistic AIDS pathogens of the alimentary, respiratory, and urinary tracts. Although nonhuman mammalian microsporidia infections typically include encephalitis, CNS microsporidiosis has not been reported in patients with AIDS. A 33-year-old white male and an 8-year-old black girl presented with seizures and declining mental status. Central nervous system (CNS) imaging studies revealed small peripherally and diffusely enhancing lesions present for at least 2 and 4 months before death, respectively. Both patients expired despite empirical anti-toxoplasma therapy. Their brains contained innumerable soft gray matter lesions that consisted of central areas of necrosis, filled with free spores and spore-laden macrophages, surrounded by microsporidia-infected astrocytes. The complete autopsy of the child also revealed necrotizing and sclerosing cardiac and renal microsporidiosis and infection of the pancreas, thyroid, parathyroids, liver, spleen, lymph nodes, and bone marrow. Infected cells included astrocytes, cardiac myocytes, epithelium, endothelium, vascular smooth muscle cells, hepatocytes, adipocytes, Schwann cells, and macrophages. Light and electron microscopic studies revealed pansporoblastic development within thick-walled sporophorous vacuoles of parasite origin. Although most similar to Pleistophora sp and Thelohania sp, this microsporidian is different from any known species. Microsporidiosis should be considered as the possible cause of a wide range of diseases in AIDS patients, including CNS, cardiac, and renal.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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