Patients who receive organ transplants must take drugs to prevent their immune systems from rejecting the organ. However, these immunosuppressive drugs make patients susceptible to life-threatening infections, such as meningitis caused by the fungus Cryptococcus neoformans. No test can yet identify which organ transplant recipients face a high risk for developing cryptococcal disease.
In a study published online on April 20 in Open Forum Infectious Diseases researchers from Albert Einstein College of Medicine and Montefiore Health System, led by Liise-anne Pirofski, M.D., and Hyunah Yoon, M.D., studied plasma samples from 44 organ transplant recipients, 23 of whom developed cryptococcosis, and determined the levels of antibodies binding to the polysaccharide capsule and cell wall of this fungus. Patients who developed post-transplant cryptococcosis had lower levels of those antibodies compared with patients who did not. Assaying levels of these antibodies could help predict risk for cryptococcosis in organ transplant recipients.
Dr. Pirofski is chief of infectious diseases in the department of medicine at Einstein and Montefiore, professor of medicine and microbiology & immunology, and holds the Selma and Dr. Jacques Mitrani Chair in Biomedical Research at Einstein. Dr. Yoon is assistant professor of medicine at Einstein and an attending physician in the division of infectious diseases at Montefiore.
Posted on: Tuesday, May 10, 2022