Purpose: To use magnetic resonance (MR) spectroscopy to characterize clinical isolates of Cryptococcus neoformans and a glioma cell line in culture and in experimental rats.
Materials and methods: One- and two-dimensional hydrogen 1 MR spectra were acquired from fungi cultured in vitro (16 isolates of C neoformans, three of Candida albicans, three of Aspergillus fumigatus, three of Saccharomyces cerevisiae) and a C6 glioma cell line. Cerebral biopsy specimens were obtained from healthy rats and animals with experimental infections or gliomas (19 healthy brains, 20 cryptococcomas, and 19 gliomas). Unequivocal signal assignment was performed for cell suspensions and tissue samples by using homo- and heteronuclear two-dimensional correlation spectra.
Results: MR spectra of C neoformans and cerebral cryptococcomas--but not of other fungi, healthy brains, or gliomas--were dominated by resonances from the cytosolic disaccharide alpha,alpha-trehalose. This spectral pattern was different from that of gliomas, which was dominated by lipids and an increased choline-creatine ratio, and that of healthy brain.
Conclusion: A remarkably high concentration of alpha,alpha-trehalose in relation to other metabolites that are visible with MR spectroscopy is diagnostic of C neoformans. Cerebral cryptococcomas are an uncommon but serious manifestation of cryptococcosis in humans. Application of these results to the noninvasive diagnosis of cerebral cryptococcomas would help reduce the risk and expense of unnecessary surgery or biopsy and expedite patient treatment.