Quantitative PCR (qPCR) Detection of Mucorales DNA in Bronchoalveolar Lavage Fluid To Diagnose Pulmonary Mucormycosis.
ABSTRACT: Early diagnosis and treatment are essential to improving the outcome of mucormycosis. The aim of this retrospective study was to assess the contribution of quantitative PCR detection of Mucorales DNA in bronchoalveolar lavage fluids for early diagnosis of pulmonary mucormycosis. Bronchoalveolar lavage fluid samples (n = 450) from 374 patients with pneumonia and immunosuppressive conditions were analyzed using a combination of 3 quantitative PCR assays targeting the main genera involved in mucormycosis in France (Rhizomucor, Mucor/Rhizopus, and Lichtheimia). Among these 374 patients, 24 patients had at least one bronchoalveolar lavage fluid sample with a positive PCR; 23/24 patients had radiological criteria for invasive fungal infections according to consensual criteria; 10 patients had probable or proven mucormycosis, and 13 additional patients had other invasive fungal infections (4 probable aspergillosis, 1 proven fusariosis, and 8 possible invasive fungal infections). Only 2/24 patients with a positive PCR result on a bronchoalveolar lavage fluid sample had a positive Mucorales culture. PCR was also positive on serum in 17/24 patients. In most cases, a positive PCR result was first detected using sera (15/17). However, a positive PCR on bronchoalveolar lavage fluid was the earliest and/or the only biological test revealing mucormycosis in 4 patients with a final diagnosis of probable or proven mucormycosis, 3 patients with probable aspergillosis, and one patient with a possible invasive fungal infection. Mucorales PCR performed on bronchoalveolar lavage fluid could provide additional support for earlier administration of Mucorales-directed antifungal therapy, thus improving the outcome of lung mucormycosis cases.
Project description:Mucormycosis is difficult to diagnose. Samples from suspected cases often fail to grow Mucorales in microbiologic cultures. We identified all hematologic malignancy and stem cell transplant patients diagnosed with proven mucormycosis between 2001 and 2009 at Brigham and Women's Hospital/Dana-Farber Cancer Institute. Seminested PCR targeting Mucorales 18S ribosomal DNA and sequencing were performed on formalin-fixed paraffin-embedded tissue samples. Of 29 cases of mucormycosis, 27 had tissue samples available for PCR and sequencing. Mucorales PCR was positive in 22. Among 12 culture-positive cases, 10 were PCR positive and sequencing was concordant with culture results to the genus level in 9. Among 15 culture-negative cases, PCR was positive and sequencing allowed genus identification in 12. Mucorales PCR is useful for confirmation of the diagnosis of mucormycosis and for further characterization of the infection in cases where cultures are negative.
Project description:Invasive mold infections are life-threatening complications in patients with hematological malignancies. Conventional microbiological methods for diagnosing invasive pulmonary mold infections have low sensitivity, and molecular methods are being developed. Detection of molds using PCR with a narrow spectrum has been reported, but data with broad-spectrum PCR are lacking. In this study, the diagnostic performance and utility of a broad-spectrum PCR (broad-spectrum PCR with subsequent electrospray ionization-mass spectrometry, PCR/ESI-MS) for detection of molds in bronchoalveolar lavage (BAL) in 27 hematological patients with a new pulmonary infiltrate was analyzed. Using the revised EORTC/MSG criteria, PCR/ESI-MS was the only positive microbiological test in patients with proven invasive mold infection (n = 2) and correctly identified all cases of probable invasive pulmonary aspergillosis (n = 5). In patients with a possible invasive mold infection (n = 5), PCR/ESI-MS was positive in three patients. Mucorales was identified with PCR/ESI-MS in four patients that were all culture negative. The PCR/ESI-MS results had a clinical impact on antifungal therapy in 12 (44%) of the patients: modification of treatment in 6 (22%) patients and discontinuation in 6 (22%) patients. This study provides proof of concept that routine use of a broad-spectrum PCR for molds in bronchoalveolar lavage in immunocompromised patients is sensitive, fast, and has an impact on clinical decision-making.
Project description:Mucormycosis is a rare and opportunistic infection caused by fungi belonging to the order Mucorales. Recent reports have demonstrated an increasing incidence of mucormycosis, which is frequently lethal, especially in patients suffering from severe underlying conditions such as immunodeficiency. In addition, even though conventional mycology and histopathology assays allow for the identification of Mucorales, they often fail in offering a species-specific diagnosis. Due to the lack of other laboratory tests, a precise identification of these molds is thus notoriously difficult. In this study we aimed to develop a molecular biology tool to identify the main Mucorales involved in human pathology. A PCR strategy selectively amplifies genomic DNA from molds belonging to the genera Absidia, Mucor, Rhizopus, and Rhizomucor, excluding human DNA and DNA from other filamentous fungi and yeasts. A subsequent digestion step identified the Mucorales at genus and species level. This technique was validated using both fungal cultures and retrospective analyses of clinical samples. By enabling a rapid and precise identification of Mucorales strains in infected patients, this PCR-restriction fragment length polymorphism-based method should help clinicians to decide on the appropriate treatment, consequently decreasing the mortality of mucormycosis.
Project description:We report the case of a 71 years old patient with chronic lymphocytic leukemia (CLL), who developed a rapidly progressing multi-fungal infection including mucormycosis of the central nervous system (CNS) during treatment with ibrutinib. On autopsy mucorales species were demonstrated intravascularly by histomorphology of several organs and lymph nodes and were characterized as Rhizomucor pusillus by polymerase-chain reaction (PCR) - analysis. In addition, invasive pulmonary Aspergillus fumigatus was found and also confirmed by PCR. To the best of our knowledge, this is the first confirmation of a multi-fungal sepsis and invasive CNS-infection with mucorales species under ibrutinib. Knowing the risk for invasive fungal disease in patients under ibrutinib, identifying the pathogen and early initiation of specific treatment is crucial for a good clinical outcome especially in mucormycosis.
Project description:Angioinvasion is a hallmark of mucormycosis. Previously, we identified endothelial cell glucose-regulated protein 78 (GRP78) as a receptor for Mucorales that mediates host cell invasion. Here we determined that spore coat protein homologs (CotH) of Mucorales act as fungal ligands for GRP78. CotH proteins were widely present in Mucorales and absent from noninvasive pathogens. Heterologous expression of CotH3 and CotH2 in Saccharomyces cerevisiae conferred the ability to invade host cells via binding to GRP78. Homology modeling and computational docking studies indicated structurally compatible interactions between GRP78 and both CotH3 and CotH2. A mutant of Rhizopus oryzae, the most common cause of mucormycosis, with reduced CotH expression was impaired for invading and damaging endothelial cells and CHO cells overexpressing GRP78. This strain also exhibited reduced virulence in a diabetic ketoacidotic (DKA) mouse model of mucormycosis. Treatment with anti-CotH Abs abolished the ability of R. oryzae to invade host cells and protected DKA mice from mucormycosis. The presence of CotH in Mucorales explained the specific susceptibility of DKA patients, who have increased GRP78 levels, to mucormycosis. Together, these data indicate that CotH3 and CotH2 function as invasins that interact with host cell GRP78 to mediate pathogenic host-cell interactions and identify CotH as a promising therapeutic target for mucormycosis.
Project description:Mucormycosis is a life-threatening, invasive fungal infection that is caused by various species belonging to the order Mucorales. Rhizopus species are the most common cause of the disease, responsible for approximately 70% of all cases of mucormycosis. During pulmonary mucormycosis, inhaled Rhizopus spores must adhere to and invade airway epithelial cells in order to establish infection. The molecular mechanisms that govern this interaction are poorly understood. We performed an unbiased survey of the host transcriptional response during early stages of Rhizopus arrhizus var. delemar (R. delemar) infection in a murine model of pulmonary mucormycosis using transcriptome sequencing (RNA-seq). Network analysis revealed activation of the host's epidermal growth factor receptor (EGFR) signaling. Consistent with the RNA-seq results, EGFR became phosphorylated upon in vitro infection of human alveolar epithelial cells with several members of the Mucorales, and this phosphorylated, activated form of EGFR colocalized with R. delemar spores. Inhibition of EGFR signaling with cetuximab or gefitinib, specific FDA-approved inhibitors of EGFR, significantly reduced the ability of R. delemar to invade and damage airway epithelial cells. Furthermore, gefitinib treatment significantly prolonged survival of mice with pulmonary mucormycosis, reduced tissue fungal burden, and attenuated the activation of EGFR in response to pulmonary mucormycosis. These results indicate EGFR represents a novel host target to block invasion of alveolar epithelial cells by R. delemar, and inhibition of EGFR signaling provides a novel approach for treating mucormycosis by repurposing an FDA-approved drug.IMPORTANCE Mucormycosis is an increasingly common, highly lethal fungal infection with very limited treatment options. Using a combination of in vivo animal models, transcriptomics, cell biology, and pharmacological approaches, we have demonstrated that Mucorales fungi activate EGFR signaling to induce fungal uptake into airway epithelial cells. Inhibition of EGFR signaling with existing FDA-approved drugs significantly increased survival following R. arrhizus var. delemar infection in mice. This study enhances our understanding of how Mucorales fungi invade host cells during the establishment of pulmonary mucormycosis and provides a proof-of-concept for the repurposing of FDA-approved drugs that target EGFR function.
Project description:BACKGROUND:Invasive mucormycosis (IM) is an emerging life-threatening fungal infection. It is difficult to obtain a definite diagnosis and to initiate timely intervention. Mucorales-specific T cells occur during the course of IM and are involved in the clearance of the infection. We have evaluated the feasibility of detecting Mucorales-specific T cells in hematological patients at risk for IM, and have correlated the detection of such cells with the clinical conditions of the patients. METHODS AND FINDINGS:By using an enzyme linked immunospot assay, the presence of Mucorales-specific T cells in peripheral blood (PB) samples has been investigated at three time points during high-dose chemotherapy for hematologic malignancies. Mucorales-specific T cells producing interferon-?, interleukin-10 and interleukin-4 were analysed in order to detect a correlation between the immune response and the clinical picture. Twenty-one (10.3%) of 204 patients, accounting for 32 (5.3%) of 598 PB samples, tested positive for Mucorales-specific T cells. Two groups could be identified. Group 1, including 15 patients without signs or symptoms of invasive fungal diseases (IFD), showed a predominance of Mucorales-specific T cells producing interferon-gamma. Group 2 included 6 patients with a clinical picture consistent with invasive fungal disease (IFD): 2 cases of proven IM and 4 cases of possible IFD. The proven patients had significantly higher number of Mucorales-specific T cells producing interleukin-10 and interleukin-4 and higher rates of positive samples by using derived diagnostic cut-offs when compared with the 15 patients without IFD. CONCLUSIONS:Mucorales-specific T cells can be detected and monitored in patients with hematologic malignancies at risk for IM. Mucorales-specific T cells polarized to the production of T helper type 2 cytokines are associated with proven IM and may be evaluated as a surrogate diagnostic marker for IM.
Project description:While Candida pneumonia is life-threatening, biomarker measurements to early detect suspected Candida pneumonia are lacking. This study compared the diagnostic values of measuring levels of (1, 3)-?-D-glucan in endotracheal aspirate, bronchoalveolar lavage fluid, and serum to detect suspected Candida pneumonia in immunocompromised and critically ill patients.This prospective, observational study enrolled immunocompromised, critically ill, and ventilated patients with suspected fungal pneumonia in mixed intensive care units from November 2010 to October 2011. Patients with D-glucan confounding factors or other fungal infection were excluded. Endotracheal aspirate, bronchoalveolar lavage fluid and serum were collected from each patient to perform a fungal smear, culture, and D-glucan assay.After screening 166 patients, 31 patients completed the study and were categorized into non-Candida pneumonia/non-candidemia (n = 18), suspected Candida pneumonia (n = 9), and non-Candida pneumonia/candidemia groups (n = 4). D-glucan levels in endotracheal aspirate or bronchoalveolar lavage were highest in suspected Candida pneumonia, while the serum D-glucan level was highest in non-Candida pneumonia/candidemia. In all patients, the D-glucan value in endotracheal aspirate was positively correlated with that in bronchoalveolar lavage fluid. For the detection of suspected Candida pneumonia, the predictive performance (sensitivity/specificity/D-glucan cutoff [pg/ml]) of D-glucan in endotracheal aspirate and bronchoalveolar lavage fluid was 67%/82%/120 and 89%/86%/130, respectively, accounting for areas under the receiver operating characteristic curve of 0.833 and 0.939 (both P < 0.05), respectively. Measuring serum D-glucan was of no diagnostic value (area under curve =0.510, P = 0.931) for the detection of suspected Candida pneumonia in the absence of concurrent candidemia.D-glucan levels in both endotracheal aspirate and bronchoalveolar lavage, but not in serum, provide good diagnostic values to detect suspected Candida pneumonia and to serve as potential biomarkers for early detection in this patient population.
Project description:Mucormycosis is a life-threatening fungal infection almost uniformly affecting diabetics in ketoacidosis or other forms of acidosis and/or immunocompromised patients. Inhalation of Mucorales spores provides the most common natural route of entry into the host. In this study, we developed an intratracheal instillation model of pulmonary mucormycosis that hematogenously disseminates into other organs using diabetic ketoacidotic (DKA) or cyclophosphamide-cortisone acetate-treated mice. Various degrees of lethality were achieved for the DKA or cyclophosphamide-cortisone acetate-treated mice when infected with different clinical isolates of Mucorales. In both DKA and cyclophosphamide-cortisone acetate models, liposomal amphotericin B (LAmB) or posaconazole (POS) treatments were effective in improving survival, reducing lungs and brain fungal burdens, and histologically resolving the infection compared with placebo. These models can be used to study mechanisms of infection, develop immunotherapeutic strategies, and evaluate drug efficacies against life-threatening Mucorales infections.
Project description:Mucormycosis is a life-threatening infection caused by Mucorales fungi. Here we sequence 30 fungal genomes, and perform transcriptomics with three representative Rhizopus and Mucor strains and with human airway epithelial cells during fungal invasion, to reveal key host and fungal determinants contributing to pathogenesis. Analysis of the host transcriptional response to Mucorales reveals platelet-derived growth factor receptor B (PDGFRB) signaling as part of a core response to divergent pathogenic fungi; inhibition of PDGFRB reduces Mucorales-induced damage to host cells. The unique presence of CotH invasins in all invasive Mucorales, and the correlation between CotH gene copy number and clinical prevalence, are consistent with an important role for these proteins in mucormycosis pathogenesis. Our work provides insight into the evolution of this medically and economically important group of fungi, and identifies several molecular pathways that might be exploited as potential therapeutic targets.