Pathogenicity of Hansenula anomala in a model of immunocompromised mice

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Systemic infections caused by opportunistic fungi have shown an increased frequency in the past 10 years, particularly in immunocompromised patients. Hansenula anomala is an ascosporogenous yeast of the Ascomycetes class found in the skin, throat, and digestive tract transient normal flora. This study was conducted to compare the pathogenicity of H. anomala and Candida albicans in a model of immunocompromised mice. Thirty-eight Swiss mice were divided into two groups as follows: 30 animals received an intraperitoneal (i.p.) injection of cyclophosphamide (200 mg/kg) four days before the induction of infection with H. anomala (1 × 106 yeasts/mL), and 8 animals received 100 mg/kg of cyclophosphamide at 3-day intervals during 3 weeks before inoculation of 1 × 107 yeasts/mL. All animals were treated with amoxicillin/clavulanic acid (40 mg/kg) four days before induction of infection. A group of mice inoculatd with C. albicans (ATCC 64548) served as control. Tissue samples from the lung, spleen, liver, and kidney for histological and mycologic studies were obtained at necropsy. In each animal, the number of viable yeasts per gram of kidney was determined. The organs most frequently infected by H. anomala were the kidneys and the liver (20%), and the lung (10%). However, in conditions of sustained immunosuppression, H. anomala was found in 65.5% of the organs examined. It is concluded that in an experimental model of immunocompromised mice, the pathogenicity of H. anomala was low.

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