Capsular Material of Cryptococcus neoformans: Virulence and Much More
A 76 year-old woman was admitted to our hospital because of pyrexia and fatigue. One year earlier, she was diagnosed as nephrotic syndrome(NS) caused by focal segmental glomerulosclerosis and immunosuppressive therapy was started with marked amelioration of proteinuria. Thereafter, her renal function worsened, but only supportive treatment was continued. After admission, a cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) examination revealed Cryptococcus neoformans (C. neoformans) by india ink staining and a subsequent CSF culture confirmed C. neoformans infection. Accordingly, we made the diagnosis of cryptococcal meningitis and immediately started multiple anti fungal drugs with dosage modification according to her impaired renal function. Immunosuppressive therapy for NS was temporarily terminated. The inflammatory signs and symptoms soon were markedly improved, but the anti cryptococcal antibody titer in the serum and CSF remained high. Immunosuppressive therapy was started again at a low dosage because urinary protein had increased again. One hundred and eight days from admission, she was discharged with a regimen of multiple anti fungal drugs. Proteinuria and renal insufficiency was almost stable during hospitalization. Most fungal infection develops in patients in an immunosuppressive state induced by immunosuppressive drugs, HIV infection and so on. Patients with NS are frequently in an immunosuppressive state because of urinary loss of immunoglobulins and the use of immunosuppressive drugs. Therefore, it should be remembered that patients with NS are at a high risk of suffering from fungal infection.