Polymerase chain reaction and culture confirmation of disseminated Encephalitozoon cuniculi in a patient with AIDS: successful therapy with albendazole

J Infect Dis. 1995 May;171(5):1375-8. doi: 10.1093/infdis/171.5.1375.


Infections due to microsporidia are being recognized increasingly, especially in AIDS patients. A patient with disseminated microsporidiosis with advanced renal failure due to Encephalitozoon cuniculi (confirmed by culture and polymerase chain reaction [PCR]) is described. The organism from urine and sputum was characterized by culture, Weber's chromotrope-based staining, transmission electron microscopy, and indirect immunofluorescence (IIF) tests. PCR was done on DNA extracted from the infected cell cultures. Treatment with albendazole resulted in improvement in serum creatinine levels, complete disappearance of spores from sputum, a negative urine culture, and a 3-log decline in the number of spores in the urine, as evidenced by chromotrope-based staining. IIF and PCR were used to confirm E. cuniculi as the etiologic agent. Our findings indicate that disseminated microsporidiosis with renal failure in AIDS is treatable.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • AIDS-Related Opportunistic Infections / drug therapy*
  • Adult
  • Albendazole / therapeutic use*
  • Animals
  • Base Sequence
  • Cell Line
  • Creatinine / blood
  • DNA, Protozoan / analysis
  • Encephalitozoon cuniculi / isolation & purification*
  • Encephalitozoon cuniculi / physiology
  • Encephalitozoon cuniculi / ultrastructure
  • Encephalitozoonosis / drug therapy*
  • Homosexuality, Male
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Molecular Sequence Data
  • Polymerase Chain Reaction
  • Renal Insufficiency / parasitology
  • Spores / ultrastructure
  • Sputum / parasitology


  • DNA, Protozoan
  • Creatinine
  • Albendazole