Cryptococcal meningitis has been described in immunocompromised patients, as well as in those for whom no immune defect has been identified. GM-CSF regulates the function of phagocytes and pulmonary alveolar macrophages, critical elements in cryptococcal control. We performed clinical histories, immunological evaluation, and anticytokine autoantibody screening in four current patients with cryptococcal meningitis and identified and tested 103 archived plasma/cerebrospinal fluid samples from patients with cryptococcal meningitis. We assessed the ability of anti-GM-CSF autoantibody-containing plasmas to inhibit GM-CSF signaling. We recognized anti-GM-CSF autoantibodies in an otherwise healthy female with cryptococcal meningitis who later developed pulmonary alveolar proteinosis (PAP). Her diagnosis prompted screening of patients with cryptococcal meningitis for anticytokine autoantibodies. We identified seven HIV-negative patients with cryptococcal meningitis who tested positive for high-titer anti-GM-CSF autoantibodies. Two of the seven later developed evidence of PAP. Plasma from all patients prevented GM-CSF-induced STAT5 phosphorylation and MIP-1? production in normal PBMCs. This effect was limited to their IgG fraction. Anti-GM-CSF autoantibodies are associated with some cases of cryptococcal meningitis in otherwise immunocompetent patients. These cases need not have associated PAP.
Cryptococcal meningitis (CM) causes significant morbidity and mortality globally; however, recent national trends have not been described. Incidence and trends for CM-associated hospitalizations in 18 states were estimated using the Agency for Healthcare and Research Quality (AHRQ) State Inpatient Databases (SID) datasets for 1997 through 2009. We identified 30,840 hospitalizations coded for CM, of which 21.6% were among HIV-uninfected patients. CM in-hospital mortality was significant (12.4% for women and 10.8% for men) with a total of 3,440 deaths over the study period. Co-morbidities of CM coded at increased frequency in HIV-uninfected CM hospitalized populations included hydrocephalus and acute/chronic renal failure as well as possible predispositions including transplantation, combined T and B cell defects, Cushings syndrome, liver disease and hypogammaglobulinemia. Median hospitalization costs were significant for CM and higher for HIV-uninfected patients (16,803.01 vs. 15,708.07; p<0.0001). Cryptococcal meningitis remains a disease with significant morbidity and mortality in the U.S. and the relative burden among persons without HIV infection is increasing.
Amphotericin B (AMB) is used to treat fungal infections of the central nervous system (CNS). However, AMB shows poor penetration into the CNS and little is known about the factors affecting its permeation through the blood-brain barrier (BBB). Therefore, we studied immunomodulatory and organism-associated molecules affecting the permeability of an in vitro BBB model to AMB. We examined the effects of interleukin-1 beta (IL-1beta), tumor necrosis factor alpha (TNF-alpha), lipopolysaccharide (LPS), lipoteichoic acid (LTA), zymosan (ZYM), dexamethasone (DEX), cyclosporine, and tacrolimus on transendothelial electrical resistance (TEER); endothelial tight junctions; filamentous actin; and permeability to deoxycholate AMB (DAMB), liposomal AMB (LAMB), and fluconazole. Proinflammatory cytokines and organism-associated molecules significantly decreased the mean TEER by 40.7 to 100% (P < or = 0.004). DEX increased the mean TEER by 18.2 to 26.4% (P < or = 0.04). TNF-alpha and LPS increased the permeability to AMB by 8.2 to 14.5% compared to that for the controls (1.1 to 2.4%) (P < or = 0.04). None of the other molecules affected the models permeability to AMB. By comparison, the BBB models permeability to fluconazole was >78% under all conditions studied, without significant differences between the controls and the experimental groups. LPS and TNF-alpha decreased tight-junction protein zona occludens 1 (ZO-1) between endothelial cells. In conclusion, IL-1beta, ZYM, and LTA increased the permeability of the BBB to small ions but not to AMB, whereas TNF-alpha and LPS, which disrupted the endothelial layer integrity, increased the permeability to AMB.
Pneumocystis pneumonia (PCP) is a life-threatening infection in immunocompromised children with quantitative and qualitative defects in T lymphocytes. At risk are children with lymphoid malignancies, HIV infection, corticosteroid therapy, transplantation and primary immunodeficiency states. Diagnosis is established through direct examination or polymerase chain reaction (PCR) from respiratory secretions. Trimethoprim-sulphamethoxazole is used for initial therapy in most patients, while pentamidine, atovaquone, clindamycin plus primaquine, and dapsone plus trimethoprim are alternatives. Prophylaxis of high-risk patients reduces but does not eliminate the risk of PCP. Improved understanding of the pathogenesis of PCP is important for future advances against this life-threatening infection.
Candidemia is a major cause of morbidity and mortality in patients undergoing hemodialysis but it has not been well defined in this patient population. We performed a retrospective case-control study to characterize the epidemiology, microbiology, and outcomes of hemodialysis-associated candidemia. All cases of candidemia at our institution were evaluated from 1 January 2000 until 1 September 2004. For each case, two non-candidemic dialysis patients served as controls. Among 350 cases of candidemia, 78 (22%) occurred in adult hemodialysis patients. Cases and controls were similar with respect to age, corticosteroid, antibiotics use, prevalence of diabetes mellitus, liver cirrhosis, surgical procedures, and cancer. Multivariate analysis found total parenteral nutrition (TPN) (19.5% vs. 1.3%; P<0.0001) and dialysis through a vascular catheter (74% vs. 46.8%; P=0.0001) to be independently associated with candidemia. Non-C.albicans Candida spp. particularly C. glabrata and C. krusei were more common in hemodialysis recipients than in candidemic patients not receiving hemodialysis (31% vs. 17% p = 0.009). In-hospital mortality was significantly elevated for candidemic vs. non-candidemic hemodialysis recipients (51.9% vs. 7.8%; P<0.0001). Candidemia in hemodialysis recipients is frequently caused by non-C. albicansCandida species, is associated with TPN and dialysis via a vascular catheter (vs. shunt or fistula) and carries a high mortality rate.
Pulmonary infiltrates in neutropenic hosts with invasive aspergillosis are caused by organism-mediated tissue injury, vascular invasion, and hemorrhagic infarction. Ultrafast computed tomography (UFCT) scanning reproducibly measures these lesions in experimental invasive pulmonary aspergillosis in persistently neutropenic rabbits. The pulmonary lesion score from UFCT scanning is a useful outcome variable for measuring differences in efficacy of antifungal compounds alone and in combination, as well as the virulence of different strains and species of Aspergillus. Several studies demonstrate that the course of pulmonary lesions treated with amphotericin B, lipid formulations of amphotericin B, triazoles, echinocandins, and combination therapy measured by serial UFCT scans correlate with those measured by survival, histopathological resolution of lesions, microbiological clearance of Aspergillus fumigatus, and resolution of galactomannan index. We further developed a multidimensional volumetric imaging (MDVI) method for analysis of the volume of pulmonary infiltrates over time in response to antifungal therapy. Volumetric data by MDVI correlate with UFCT pulmonary lesion scores and validated biological endpoints. A recent pilot clinical study demonstrated the applicability of MDVI to human pulmonary fungal infections. MDVI also improves objectivity of radiological assessment of therapeutic response to antifungal therapy and merits more extensive evaluation in patients with invasive aspergillosis, as well as other fungal and bacterial pneumonias.
We demonstrate a genome-wide method for the integration of many studies of gene expression of phenotypically similar disease processes, a method of multiplex meta-analysis. We use immune dysfunction as an example disease process.
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