Disseminated microsporidiosis caused by Encephalitozoon cuniculi III (dog type) in an Italian AIDS patient: a retrospective study

Mod Pathol. 2002 May;15(5):577-83. doi: 10.1038/modpathol.3880566.


We report a case of disseminated microsporidiosis in an Italian woman with AIDS. This study was done retrospectively using formalin-fixed, paraffin-embedded tissue specimens obtained at autopsy. Microsporidia spores were found in the necrotic lesions of the liver, kidney, and adrenal gland and in ovary, brain, heart, spleen, lung, and lymph nodes. The infecting agent was identified as belonging to the genus Encephalitozoon based on transmission electron microscopy and indirect immunofluorescence. Additional molecular studies, including sequence of the rDNA internal transcribed spacer region, identified the agent as E. cuniculi, Genotype III. We believe that this is the first report of a human case of disseminated microsporidial infection involving the ovary.

Publication types

  • Case Reports
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • AIDS-Related Opportunistic Infections / complications
  • Acquired Immunodeficiency Syndrome / complications*
  • Adult
  • Animals
  • Brain / parasitology
  • DNA, Protozoan / genetics
  • DNA, Ribosomal Spacer / chemistry
  • DNA, Ribosomal Spacer / genetics
  • Dogs / parasitology
  • Encephalitozoon cuniculi / genetics*
  • Encephalitozoon cuniculi / ultrastructure
  • Encephalitozoonosis / complications
  • Encephalitozoonosis / parasitology
  • Encephalitozoonosis / pathology*
  • Fatal Outcome
  • Female
  • Genotype
  • Humans
  • Italy
  • Lymph Nodes / parasitology
  • Microscopy, Electron
  • Ovary / parasitology
  • Retrospective Studies
  • Sequence Analysis, DNA
  • Spleen / parasitology


  • DNA, Protozoan
  • DNA, Ribosomal Spacer