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Immunol Cell Biol. 1996 Aug;74(4):318-22.

Exacerbation of invasive aspergillosis by the immunosuppressive fungal metabolite, gliotoxin.

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Division of Immunology and Cell Biology, John Curtin School of Medical Research, Australian National University, Canberra, Australian Capital Territory, Australia.


Invasive aspergillosis is a significant cause of death in immunocompromised individuals. The majority of strains of the main causative agent, Aspergillus fumigatus, produce gliotoxin, a secondary metabolite with demonstrated in vitro immunosuppressive activity. Pretreatment of normally resistant mice with a single injection of a sublethal dose of gliotoxin was sufficient to make them susceptible to infection and subsequent death, after challenge with A. fumigatus spores. Animals infected with the non-gliotoxin producing strain survived significantly longer than those infected with a gliotoxin producer. We propose that the release of gliotoxin by A. fumigatus hyphae during infection can exacerbate the pathogenesis of aspergillosis.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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