The occurrence of yeasts and antibodies to yeasts was studied in patients undergoing open-heart surgery without antifungal prophylaxis, and in a similar group receiving antifungal prophylaxis. An association was demonstrated between the occurrence of commensal yeasts and the appearance of antibodies. None of the patients developed overt systemic or superficial yeast infection. The antigenic stimulus for the post-operative production of antibodies appeared to be the increase in the yeast flora that occurred shortly after operation. When the commensal yeast population was suppressed by antifungal antibiotics, the antibody response was also reduced. The implications of these findings in the interpretation of serological tests for diagnosis of systemic yeast infections are discussed.


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