Differential Cytokine Induction by the Species of Cryptococcus gattii Complex

Patricia F Herkert, Jessica C Dos Santos, Ferry Hagen, Fatima Ribeiro-Dias, Flávio Queiroz-Telles, Mihai G Netea, Jacques F Meis, Leo A B Joosten

Research output: Contribution to journal/periodicalArticleScientificpeer-review


Cryptococcal species vary in capsule and cell size, thermotolerance, geographic distribution, and affected populations. Cryptococcus gattii sensu stricto and C. deuterogattii affect mainly immunocompetent hosts; however, C. bacillisporus, C. decagattii, and C. tetragattii cause infections mainly in immunocompromised hosts. This study aimed to compare the capacities of different species of the C. gattii species complex to induce cytokines and antimicrobial molecules in human peripheral blood mononuclear cells (PBMCs). Cryptococcus bacillisporus and C. deuterogattii induced the lowest levels of tumor necrosis factor alpha (TNF-α), interleukin-1β (IL-1β), and IL-6 among the five species of the C. gattii complex. Cryptococcus deuterogattii induced higher levels of IL-22 than those induced by C. tetragattii and the environmental species C. flavescens In addition, C. bacillisporus and C. gattii sensu stricto proliferated inside human monocyte-derived macrophages after 24 h of infection. All Cryptococcus species were able to generate reactive oxygen species (ROS) in human PBMCs, with C. bacillisporus and C. deuterogattii being more efficient than the other species. In conclusion, C. bacillisporus and C. deuterogattii induce lower levels of the proinflammatory cytokines TNF-α, IL-1β, and IL-6 and higher ROS levels than those induced by the other species. Species of the Cryptococcus gattii complex have different abilities to induce cytokine and ROS production by human PBMCs.

Original languageEnglish
JournalInfection and Immunity
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - Apr 2018


  • Cell Proliferation
  • Cryptococcosis/metabolism
  • Cryptococcus gattii/physiology
  • Cytokines/metabolism
  • Humans
  • Inflammation Mediators/metabolism
  • Leukocytes, Mononuclear/immunology
  • Macrophages/immunology
  • Models, Biological
  • Reactive Oxygen Species/metabolism


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