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Keywords:

  • AIDS;
  • antifungal;
  • cryptococcosis;
  • genetic diversity;
  • genotyping

Abstract

Cryptococcus neoformans is the most common cause of meningitis amongst adult Africans with HIV/AIDS. The widespread use of fluconazole may lead to the emergence of isolates with reduced susceptibility. We studied C. neoformans isolates from HIV-infected patients with cryptococcal meningitis. Genotyping and antifungal testing were performed to assess the genetic diversity, occurrence of mixed infections and in vitro activity of antifungal agents. Isolates were recovered from cerebrospinal fluid prior to systemic antifungal treatment. Six isolates were studied for each sample (a total of 114 isolates from 19 patients). Serotyping was performed via LAC 1 and CAP 64 gene amplification and genotyping was performed using phage M13 core, (GACA)4 and (GTG)5 primers and restriction polymorphism analysis of the URA5 gene. Susceptibilities for amphotericin B, flucytosine, fluconazole, voriconazole and posaconazole were tested by the Sensititre YeastOne® method. All strains were identified as C. neoformans var. grubii serotype A. We identified nine major genotypes. Up to two genotypes were identified in the same sample. None of the isolates were resistant to the studied drugs. However, 13 of 114 strains exhibited a reduced susceptibility to fluconazole and 13 of 114 strains exhibited a reduced susceptibility to flucytosine. No correlation was found between the genotype and susceptibility. This study confirms the prevalence of C. neoformans serotype A in Cameroon. Two genotypes may be responsible for a single episode of cryptococcosis. The possibility of mixed infection and diminished susceptibility to fluconazole or flucytosine must be considered for the management of cryptococcosis.