Connecting Cryptococcal Meningitis and Gut Microbiome

Int J Mol Sci. 2023 Aug 31;24(17):13515. doi: 10.3390/ijms241713515.


Fungal pathogens of the Cryptococcus neoformans species complex (C. neoformans SC) are a major cause of fungal meningitis in immunocompromised individuals. As with other melanotic microorganisms associated with human diseases, the cell-wall-associated melanin of C. neoformans SC is a major virulence factor that contributes to its ability to evade host immune responses. The levels of melanin substrate and the regulation of melanin formation could be influenced by the microbiota-gut-brain axis. Moreover, recent studies show that C. neoformans infections cause dysbiosis in the human gut microbiome. In this review, we discuss the potential association between cryptococcal meningitis and the gut microbiome. Additionally, the significant potential of targeting the gut microbiome in the diagnosis and treatment of this debilitating disease is emphasized.

Keywords: catecholamines; cryptococcal meningitis; melanin; microbiota–gut–brain axis; nutritional signals.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Brain-Gut Axis
  • Cryptococcosis*
  • Cryptococcus neoformans*
  • Gastrointestinal Microbiome*
  • Humans
  • Melanins
  • Meningitis, Cryptococcal*


  • Melanins