Protective efficacy of antigenic fractions in mouse models of cryptococcosis

Infect Immun. 2004 Mar;72(3):1746-54. doi: 10.1128/IAI.72.3.1746-1754.2004.


Infections due to the encapsulated fungus Cryptococcus neoformans are a significant cause of morbidity and mortality in patients with impaired T-cell function, particularly those with AIDS. Presumably then, T-cell responses to cryptococcal antigens are critical for protection against this ubiquitous fungus. To test the protective efficacy of these antigens as vaccine candidates, secreted cryptococcal antigens were separated by concanavalin A affinity chromatography into adherent (mannoprotein [MP]) and nonadherent (flowthrough [FT]) fractions, and the fractions were tested in murine models of disseminated cryptococcosis. Compared with adjuvant alone, C57BL/6 mice that received two inoculations of MP and FT exhibited prolonged survival and reduced brain and kidney fungal loads following intravenous challenge with C. neoformans strain B3501. MP-immunized animals had increased brain levels of tumor necrosis factor alpha, gamma interferon, and interleukin-2. Histopathologic examination revealed that compared with organs from mice that received only adjuvant, MP-immunized mice were able to recruit a stronger cellular infiltrate in brain, kidney, and liver in response to cryptococcal infection. Conjugated O-linked glycans were necessary for optimal MP-mediated protection, because chemical O deglycosylation reduced the protective efficacy of MP immunization. FT and MP immunization protected B-cell-deficient, but not T-cell-deficient mice, suggesting that protection was T-cell mediated. CBA/J mice also benefited from immunization with FT and MP, although the benefits were more modest than those seen with C57BL/6 mice. Thus, both MP and FT fractions of C. neoformans contain components that protect mice from disseminated cryptococcosis, and this protection appears to be T-cell mediated.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Antigens, Fungal / administration & dosage*
  • Antigens, Fungal / isolation & purification
  • B-Lymphocytes / immunology
  • Cryptococcosis / immunology*
  • Cryptococcosis / microbiology
  • Cryptococcosis / pathology
  • Cryptococcosis / prevention & control*
  • Cryptococcus neoformans / immunology*
  • Cryptococcus neoformans / isolation & purification
  • Cryptococcus neoformans / pathogenicity
  • Cytokines / metabolism
  • Disease Models, Animal
  • Fungal Vaccines / administration & dosage
  • Humans
  • Mice
  • Mice, Inbred C57BL
  • Mice, Mutant Strains
  • Organ Specificity
  • Polysaccharides / administration & dosage
  • Polysaccharides / immunology
  • Polysaccharides / isolation & purification
  • T-Lymphocytes / immunology


  • Antigens, Fungal
  • Cytokines
  • Fungal Vaccines
  • Polysaccharides