Cure of zygomycosis caused by a lipase-producing Rhizopus rhizopodiformis strain in a renal transplant patient

Scand J Infect Dis. 1991;23(3):377-82. doi: 10.3109/00365549109024326.


A 40-year-old man with renal failure due to membranous glomerulonephritis received a cadaveric renal transplant and immunosuppressive therapy with cyclosporine, azathioprine and steroids. Initially the transplantation was successful. 12 days after the transplantation, however, serous secretion appeared in the wound. Later, black necrosis was seen. Fungal culture showed growth of a zygomycete species. Rhizopus rhizopodiformis, with high in-vitro resistance to amphotericin B, flucytosine, fluconazole, ketoconazole and itraconazole. The MIC value for the allylamine derivative SF86-327 (Exoderil) was 1.6 micrograms/ml. Microscopic examination of sections from a surgical revision showed necrosis of the fat tissue and massive hyphal invasion of the perirenal fat, which contained semi-crystalline material anisotropic as seen in polarized light and characteristically staining with rubeanic acid. These histological data indicate a lipase-induced in-vivo splitting of lipids into fatty acids. In-vitro R. rhizopodiformis showed very high extracellular lipase production. 11 days after initiation of amphotericin B therapy cultures and sections remained positive for rhizopus. Amphotericin B was therefore supplemented with Exoderil orally, cyclosporine and steroids were maintained, and azathioprine was discontinued. The wound granulated, shrank, and healed completely in 10 weeks.

Publication types

  • Case Reports

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Amphotericin B / therapeutic use
  • Antifungal Agents / therapeutic use
  • Humans
  • Kidney Transplantation*
  • Lipase / biosynthesis
  • Male
  • Microbial Sensitivity Tests
  • Mucormycosis / microbiology
  • Mucormycosis / pathology
  • Mucormycosis / therapy*
  • Necrosis
  • Rhizopus* / enzymology
  • Surgical Wound Infection / microbiology
  • Surgical Wound Infection / pathology
  • Surgical Wound Infection / therapy*


  • Antifungal Agents
  • Amphotericin B
  • Lipase