Reactivation of Coccidioidomycosis in a Mouse Model of Asymptomatic Controlled Disease

Daniel A. Powell, Sharon M. Dial, Christine D. Butkiewicz, Hien T. Trinh, Amy P. Hsu, Adam Buntzman, Jeffrey A. Frelinger, John N. Galgiani

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

2 Scopus citations


The majority of human coccidioidomycosis infections are asymptomatic or self-limited but may have sequestered spherules in highly structured granulomas. Under immunosuppression, reactivation of fungal growth can result in severe disease. B6D2F1 mice asymptomatically infected with C. posadasii strain 1038 were immunosuppressed with dexamethasone (DXM) in drinking water. Treated mice died 16–25 days later, while untreated mice survived (p < 0.001). Flow cytometry of lung granulomas on days 5, 10, 15, and 20 of DXM treatment showed immune cell populations decreased 0.5–1 log compared with untreated mice though neutrophils and CD19+IgDIgM cells rebounded by day 20. Histopathology demonstrated loss of granuloma structure by day 5 and increasing spherules through day 20. On day 20, T-cells were nearly absent and disorganized pyogranulomatous lesions included sheets of plasma cells and innumerable spherules. Mice given DXM for 14 days then stopped (DXM stop) survived 6 weeks (9/10). Lung fungal burdens were significantly lower (p = 0.0447) than mice that continued treatment (DXM cont) but higher than untreated mice. Histopathologically, DXM stop mice did not redevelop controlled granulomas by sacrifice, though T-cells were densely scattered throughout the lesions. This demonstrates a mouse model suitable for further study to understand the immunologic components responsible for maintenance control of coccidioidomycosis.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number991
JournalJournal of Fungi
Issue number10
StatePublished - Oct 2022


  • Coccidioides
  • granuloma
  • immunosuppression
  • mice
  • reactivation

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Ecology, Evolution, Behavior and Systematics
  • Plant Science
  • Microbiology (medical)


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