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Mediators of Inflammation
Volume 2013, Article ID 465319, 11 pages
Review Article

How Histopathology Can Contribute to an Understanding of Defense Mechanisms against Cryptococci

1Department of Surgical Pathology, Toho University School of Medicine, 6-11-1 Omori-Nishi, Ota-Ku, Tokyo 143-8541, Japan
2Department of Neurosurgery, Toho University Ohashi Medical Center, 2-17-6 Ohashi, Meguro, Tokyo 153-8515, Japan
3Department of Chemotherapy and Mycoses, National Institute of Infectious Diseases, 1-23-1 Toyama, Shinjuku-Ku, Tokyo 162-8640, Japan
4Laboratory of Space and Environmental Medicine, Graduate School of Medicine, Teikyo University, 2-11-1 Kaga, Itabashi, Tokyo 173-8605, Japan
5Teikyo University Institute of Medical Mycology, Hachioji, Tokyo 192-0395, Japan
6Department of Dermatology, Peking University First Hospital, Beijing, China

Received 31 May 2013; Accepted 18 July 2013

Academic Editor: Donna-Marie McCafferty

Copyright © 2013 Yoichiro Okubo et al. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


Invasive fungal infections, particularly those considered opportunistic, have become a common and significant complication of procedures performed in advanced contemporary medicine. Among such infections, cryptococcosis, which is usually caused by infection with Cryptococcus neoformans and Cryptococcus gattii, is particularly problematic because this fungal infection occurs in immunocompromised and apparently immunocompetent individuals. It has been largely accepted that Cryptococcus species are recognized by cellular receptors and that Th1-type immune responses play an important role in defense mechanisms against the yeast. However, the interaction between the yeast and host tissue varies depending on the characteristics of the yeast and the immune status of the host. To gain a better understanding of the pathophysiology of cryptococcosis, we wish to emphasize the usefulness of histopathological examinations, because it allowed more detailed information of an extremely complex interaction between the causative yeasts and tissue response. In the present review, we describe the pathophysiology of cryptococcosis as largely revealed in our previous histopathological investigations of the experimental infection.