ResearchPad - histoplasmosis Default RSS Feed en-us © 2020 Newgen KnowledgeWorks <![CDATA[Disseminated Histoplasmosis: Fighting a neglected killer of patients with advanced HIV disease in Latin America]]> <![CDATA[Worldwide Phylogenetic Distributions and Population Dynamics of the Genus Histoplasma]]>


Histoplasma capsulatum comprises a worldwide complex of saprobiotic fungi mainly found in nitrogen/phosphate (often bird guano) enriched soils. The microconidia of Histoplasma species may be inhaled by mammalian hosts, and is followed by a rapid conversion to yeast that can persist in host tissues causing histoplasmosis, a deep pulmonary/systemic mycosis. Histoplasma capsulatum sensu lato is a complex of at least eight clades geographically distributed as follows: Australia, Netherlands, Eurasia, North American classes 1 and 2 (NAm 1 and NAm 2), Latin American groups A and B (LAm A and LAm B) and Africa. With the exception of the Eurasian cluster, those clades are considered phylogenetic species.

Methodology/Principal Findings

Increased Histoplasma sampling (n = 234) resulted in the revision of the phylogenetic distribution and population structure using 1,563 aligned nucleotides from four protein-coding regions. The LAm B clade appears to be divided into at least two highly supported clades, which are geographically restricted to either Colombia/Argentina or Brazil respectively. Moreover, a complex population genetic structure was identified within LAm A clade supporting multiple monophylogenetic species, which could be driven by rapid host or environmental adaptation (~0.5 MYA). We found two divergent clades, which include Latin American isolates (newly named as LAm A1 and LAm A2), harboring a cryptic cluster in association with bats.


At least six new phylogenetic species are proposed in the Histoplasma species complex supported by different phylogenetic and population genetics methods, comprising LAm A1, LAm A2, LAm B1, LAm B2, RJ and BAC-1 phylogenetic species. The genetic isolation of Histoplasma could be a result of differential dispersion potential of naturally infected bats and other mammals. In addition, the present study guides isolate selection for future population genomics and genome wide association studies in this important pathogen complex.

<![CDATA[Tc17 Cells Mediate Vaccine Immunity against Lethal Fungal Pneumonia in Immune Deficient Hosts Lacking CD4+ T Cells]]>

Vaccines may help reduce the growing incidence of fungal infections in immune-suppressed patients. We have found that, even in the absence of CD4+ T-cell help, vaccine-induced CD8+ T cells persist and confer resistance against Blastomyces dermatitidis and Histoplasma capsulatum. Type 1 cytokines contribute to that resistance, but they also are dispensable. Although the role of T helper 17 cells in immunity to fungi is debated, IL-17 producing CD8+ T cells (Tc17 cells) have not been investigated. Here, we show that Tc17 cells are indispensable in antifungal vaccine immunity in hosts lacking CD4+ T cells. Tc17 cells are induced upon vaccination, recruited to the lung on pulmonary infection, and act non-redundantly in mediating protection in a manner that requires neutrophils. Tc17 cells did not influence type I immunity, nor did the lack of IL-12 signaling augment Tc17 cells, indicating a distinct lineage and function. IL-6 was required for Tc17 differentiation and immunity, but IL-1R1 and Dectin-1 signaling was unexpectedly dispensable. Tc17 cells expressed surface CXCR3 and CCR6, but only the latter was essential in recruitment to the lung. Although IL-17 producing T cells are believed to be short-lived, effector Tc17 cells expressed low levels of KLRG1 and high levels of the transcription factor TCF-1, predicting their long-term survival and stem-cell like behavior. Our work has implications for designing vaccines against fungal infections in immune suppressed patients.

<![CDATA[If It Looks Like a Duck, Swims Like a Duck, and Quacks Like a Duck—Does It Have to Be a Duck?]]> ]]> <![CDATA[HIV-Associated Histoplasmosis Early Mortality and Incidence Trends: From Neglect to Priority]]>


Histoplasmosis is an endemic fungal infection in French Guiana. It is the most common AIDS-defining illness and the leading cause of AIDS-related deaths. Diagnosis is difficult, but in the past 2 decades, it has improved in this French overseas territory which offers an interesting model of Amazonian pathogen ecology. The objectives of the present study were to describe the temporal trends of incidence and mortality indicators for HIV-associated histoplasmosis in French Guiana.


A retrospective study was conducted to describe early mortality rates observed in persons diagnosed with incident cases of HIV-associated Histoplasma capsulatum var. capsulatum histoplasmosis admitted in one of the three main hospitals in French Guiana between 1992 and 2011. Early mortality was defined by death occurring within 30 days after antifungal treatment initiation. Data were collected on standardized case report forms and analysed using standard statistical methods.


There were 124 deaths (45.3%) and 46 early deaths (16.8%) among 274 patients. Three time periods of particular interest were identified: 1992–1997, 1998–2004 and 2005–2011. The two main temporal trends were: the proportion of early deaths among annual incident histoplasmosis cases significantly declined four fold (χ2, p<0.0001) and the number of annual incident histoplasmosis cases increased three fold between 1992–1997 and 1998–2004, and subsequently stabilized.


From an occasional exotic diagnosis, AIDS-related histoplasmosis became the top AIDS-defining event in French Guiana. This was accompanied by a spectacular decrease of early mortality related to histoplasmosis, consistent with North American reference center mortality rates. The present example testifies that rapid progress could be at reach if awareness increases and leads to clinical and laboratory capacity building in order to diagnose and treat this curable disease.