Microsporidia infection in transplant patients

Transplantation. 1999 Feb 15;67(3):482-4. doi: 10.1097/00007890-199902150-00024.


Background: Microsporidia are the most common cause of chronic diarrhea in patients infected with human immunodeficiency virus. Patients who have undergone organ transplantation may also be infected. The precise immune defect and the clinical picture in transplant patients have not been studied.

Methods: We report a case of microsporidia infection in a heart transplant patient and review three other cases reported in the literature.

Results: Infection in three solid organ transplant patients occurred when the patients were receiving immunosuppressive therapy for rejection 1.5-3 years after transplantation. Patients had chronic diarrhea, vomiting, dyspepsia, and weight loss for 1 month to 3 years.

Conclusions: Microsporidia may be the cause of chronic unexplained diarrhea and gastrointestinal disturbances in transplant patients. Defects in cell-mediated immunity probably play a role in maintaining the chronicity of this infection. Specific screening requests should be made to the microbiology laboratory when microsporidia infection is suspected.

Publication types

  • Case Reports
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Anti-Infective Agents / therapeutic use
  • Cyclosporine / therapeutic use
  • Diarrhea / etiology
  • Diarrhea / parasitology
  • Feces / parasitology
  • Graft Rejection / drug therapy
  • Heart Transplantation* / immunology
  • Humans
  • Immunosuppressive Agents / therapeutic use
  • Male
  • Metronidazole / therapeutic use
  • Microsporida* / isolation & purification
  • Microsporidiosis / diagnosis*
  • Microsporidiosis / drug therapy
  • Middle Aged
  • Postoperative Complications


  • Anti-Infective Agents
  • Immunosuppressive Agents
  • Metronidazole
  • Cyclosporine