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Microsatellite typing and susceptibilities of serial Cryptococcus neoformans isolates from Cuban patients with recurrent cryptococcal meningitis

María T Illnait-Zaragozí1, Gerardo F Martínez-Machín1, Carlos M Fernández-Andreu1, Ferry Hagen2, Teun Boekhout2, Corné HW Klaassen3 and Jacques F Meis3*

Author Affiliations

1 Department of Bacteriology and Mycology, Instituto Pedro Kourí, Havana, Cuba

2 CBS-Fungal Biodiversity Centre, Utrecht, The Netherlands

3 Department of Medical Microbiology and Infectious Diseases, Canisius Wilhelmina Hospital, Nijmegen, The Netherlands

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BMC Infectious Diseases 2010, 10:289  doi:10.1186/1471-2334-10-289

Published: 4 October 2010



Cryptococcus neoformans is commonly associated with meningoencephalitis in immunocompromised patients and occasionally in apparently healthy individuals. Recurrence of infection after initial treatment is not uncommon. We studied C. neoformans isolates from 7 Cuban patients with recurrent cryptococcal meningitis. Antifungal susceptibility and genotyping with microsatellite molecular typing were carried out.


Isolates (n = 19) were recovered from cerebrospinal fluid, blood, urine and semen. Antifungal susceptibilities for amphotericin B, fluconazole, flucytosine, itraconazole, voriconazole, posaconazole and isavuconazole were tested by CLSI M27A3 broth microdilution method. Genotyping was done using a panel of 9 microsatellite (STR) markers: (CT)n, (TG)n, (TA)n, (CTA)n, (TCT)n, (CCA)n, (TTAT)n, (ATCC)n and (TATT)n.


The average number of isolates/patient was 2.71. The mean time interval between the collection of any two isolates was 52.5 days. All strains were identified as C. neoformans var. grubii (serotype Aα). Although none of the strains were resistant to the studied drugs, in serial isolates from two patients, MICs values of triazoles increased 4-5 log2 dilutions over time. STR patterns showed 14 distinctive profiles. In three patients the recurrent infection was associated with genotypically identical isolates. The four other patients had relapse isolates which were genotypically different from the initial infecting strain.


Recurrences of cryptococcal meningitis in our series of patients was not associated with development of drug resistance of the original strain but by an initial infection with different strains or a reinfection with a new strain.