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Cryptococcosis begins in the lungs and can ultimately travel through the bloodstream to cause devastating infection in the central nervous system. In the zebrafish model, small amounts of cryptococcus inoculated into the bloodstream are initially phagocytosed and become far more capable of dissemination after they exit macrophages.
Cryptococcal infection begins in the lungs, but yeast cells subsequently access the bloodstream, from which they can reach the central nervous system (CNS). The resulting meningoencephalitis is the most common presentation and is very difficult
Although we have recognized cryptococcosis as a disease entity for well over 100 years, there are many details about its pathogenesis which remain unknown. A major barrier to better understanding is the very broad range of clinical and pathological forms cryptococcal infections can take.
The zebrafish has become a widely accepted model host for studies of infectious disease, including fungal infections. The species is genetically tractable, and the larvae are transparent and amenable to prolonged in vivo imaging and small molecule screening.
Cryptococcal meningoencephalitis is a fungal infection that predominantly affects immunocompromised patients and is uniformly fatal if left untreated. Timely diagnosis is difficult, and screening or prophylactic measures have generally not been successful. Thus, we need a better understanding of early, asymptomatic pathogenesis.


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