Reviewer: Elliot Weisenberg, M.D. (see Reviewers page)
Revised: 4 September 2011, last major update September 2011
Copyright: (c) 2003-2011, PathologyOutlines.com, Inc.
● Yeast, mostly encapsulated, found in pigeon droppings, that may cause mild infection after inhalation; usually confluent bronchopneumonia with “yeast lakes” of microorganisms and possibly coin lesions, but no evident host response (eMedicine)
● May also cause meningitis
● Latent infections can reactivate in immunosuppressed
● CNS disease is a major concern in immunocompromised
● Most commonly an opportunistic infection, but disease may occur in immunocompetent patients
● Major virulence factor is capsular polysaccharide glucuronoxylomannin, which hinders phagocytosis by alveolar histiocytes and inflammatory cell recruitment and migration
● Other virulence factors include melanin production (Fontana-Masson stain may be positive; melanin may have anti-oxidant properties) and enzymes that increase invasiveness
● Somewhat pleomorphic, round/oval yeast, 4-10 microns
● Thick, mucinous capsule stains bright red with mucicarmine; some are unencapsulated
● Narrow necked budding takes place
● Smaller, unencapsulated forms resemble Histoplasma capsulatum
End of Lung-nontumor > Infections > Cryptococcus neoformans
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