Mucosal and systemic candidiasis in congenitally immunodeficient mice

M. T. Cantorna, E. Balish

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97 Scopus citations


Colony counts and light microscopy were used to assess the capacity of Candida albicans to colonize, infect the alimentary tract, and cause disseminated disease in athymic (nu/nu), euthymic (nu/+), beige (bg/bg), black (bg/+), beige athymic (bg/bg nu/nu), or beige euthymic (bg/bg nu/+) germfree mice. The alimentary tracts of all six genotypes of germfree mice were quickly colonized after exposure to yeast-phase C. albicans. Only bg/bg nu/nu mice showed obvious morbidity and mortality after mucosal colonization with C. albicans. Histopathology of C. albicans-colonized immunocompetent (nu/+, bg/+) and singly immunodeficient (nu/nu, bg/bg, bg/bg nu/+) mice showed minimal to moderate mucosal infections, whereas doubly immunodeficient (bg/bg nu/nu) mice showed extensive yeast and hyphal infection of the palate, tongue, esophagus, and stomach. A progressive systemic infection in C. albicans-colonized mice occurred only in bg/bg nu/nu mice 12 to 16 weeks after colonization and mucosal infection. Thus, it appears that a combination of defective cell-mediated immunity and phagocytic cell defects (polymorphonuclear leukocytes and/or macrophages) predisposed mice to severe mucosal and systemic candidiasis of endogenous origin. This is the first report of a mouse strain that is not only naturally susceptible to mucosal and systemic candidiasis of endogenous origin but also shows lethality at early (1 to 4 weeks) and late (12 to 16 weeks) times after alimentary tract colonization.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1093-1100
Number of pages8
JournalInfection and Immunity
Issue number4
StatePublished - 1990

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Parasitology
  • Microbiology
  • Immunology
  • Infectious Diseases


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