Alzheimer’s disease and disseminated mycoses

Abstract

Alzheimer’s disease (AD) is characterized by the presence in the brain of amyloid plaques and neurofibrillary tangles that provoke neuronal cell death, vascular dysfunction and inflammatory processes. In the present work, we have analyzed the existence of fungal infection in AD patients. A number of tests have been carried out in blood serum, including the detection of antibodies against several yeast species and fungal proteins, and also the presence of fungal (1,3)-β-glucan. Results from this analysis indicate that there is disseminated fungal infection in the majority of AD patients tested. Of interest, several AD patients contain high levels of fungal polysaccharides in peripheral blood, reflecting that disseminated fungal infection occurs in these patients. Together, these results suggest the presence of disseminated mycoses in blood serum from AD patients. To our knowledge these findings represent the first evidence that fungal infection is detectable in blood samples in AD patients. The possibility that this may represent a risk factor or may contribute to the etiological cause of AD is discussed.

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Acknowledgments

We acknowledge an institutional grant to Centro de Biología Molecular from the Fundación Ramón Areces.

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The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.

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Correspondence to L. Carrasco.

Additional information

Ruth Alonso and Diana Pisa contributed equally to this work.

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Alonso, R., Pisa, D., Rábano, A. et al. Alzheimer’s disease and disseminated mycoses. Eur J Clin Microbiol Infect Dis 33, 1125–1132 (2014). https://doi.org/10.1007/s10096-013-2045-z

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Keywords

  • Fungal Infection
  • Blood Serum
  • Brain Bank
  • Fungal Antigen
  • Acute Zonal Occult Outer Retinopathy