May 1, 1992

Is Pneumocystis carinii a deep mycosis-like agent?

European Journal of Epidemiology
E Dei-CasD Camus


Pneumocystis carinii is a widespread eukaryotic microorganism found in the lungs of healthy mammals, including humans. It is able to proliferate extensively in the alveoli, becoming an important agent of severe pneumonitis in immunosuppressed hosts, especially in persons suffering from AIDS. The taxonomic position of P. carinii is uncertain. Typical cytoplasmic organelles of eukaryotic cells have been found and described in the parasite. Biochemical research is hindered by the lack of an efficient in vitro culture system. Results of comparative study of nucleic acid sequences suggest that Pneumocystis is a fungus. However, ultrastructural, biochemical and nucleic acid homology insights appear as clearly insufficient to class Pneumocystis. Pneumocystis infection might be acquired, as deep mycoses, from environmental sources through the respiratory tract. Thus, the hypothesis of an environmental stage of the parasite must be considered. Pneumocystis might be seen as a widespread pathogenic dimorphous fungus. As fungal agents, P. carinii is able to disseminate from the infected lung to other organs. However, deep mycoses and pneumocystosis induce different histopathological changes in the host. Furthermore, deep fungal infections,...Continue Reading

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Mentioned in this Paper

Pneumocystis Infections
Pneumocystis Jiroveci Pneumonia
Lung Diseases, Fungal
Genus Pneumocystis
Fungal Eye Infections

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