Fungal-strain-dependent alterations in the time course and mortality of chronic murine pulmonary blastomycosis

Academic Article


  • Intratracheal injection of 104 conidia of Blastomyces dermatitidis strain M1-A into mice was shown in previous work to induce chronic pulmonary and disseminated infection with histopathologic features of chronic human blastomycosis. Furthermore, 10-fold variations in inoculum density produced marked changes in mean survival times (MSTs), i.e., 32 days at 106, 36 days at 105, 97 days at 104, and 172 days at 103. A second strain (M1-B) failed to induce death in this model. To assess fungal-strain-dependent virulence, we extended these previous studies to 11 additional human isolates. Groups of male BALB/cByJ mice (6 to 8 weeks old) were injected intratracheally with 104 conidia from each of the 13 strains; the mice were weighed weekly and monitored for mortality, and their lungs were examined histopathologically. Infection rate and mortality were 100% in all groups except for the M1-B inoculated mice. For strains M1-B and M1-A, MST and mortality curves were not significantly different from those observed in our previously reported experiments. Four different survival patterns were noted in infected mice. The shortest MSTs were produced by strains M2-E, M2-B, M2-K, M2-H, and M2-A (24, 26, 26, 27 and 31 days, respectively), and the longest MST was seen in animal groups inoculated with strains M2-J and M2-G (130 and 134 days, respectively). Strains M2-I, M2-F, and M2-D produced intermediate MSTs of 65, 79, and 80 days, respectively. The 107-day MST induced by M1-A did not differ from strain M2-C-induced MST but differed significantly from the MST produced by the other strains. Pulmonary histopathology was similar in all animals dying with blastomycosis. The wide spectrum in survival times was not related to differences in clinical status of the patient from whom the isolate had been obtained, to fungal inoculum viability, or to individual mouse weight at inoculation. Strain-dependent virulence factors present in these fungal isolates alter the disease course in inbred mice in a fashion similar to that induced by 10-fold inoculum variation of strain M1-A conidia. These 13 isolates of B. dermatitidis, 1 avirulent and 12 with differing levels of virulence, provide tools for future studies into the nature of fungal virulence determinants in chronic blastomycosis.
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    Author List

  • Moser SA; Koker PJ; Williams JE
  • Start Page

  • 34
  • End Page

  • 39
  • Volume

  • 56
  • Issue

  • 1