Summary: Infections caused by the yeast represent an increasing threat to debilitated and immunosuppressed patients, and neutropenia is an important risk factor. Monoclonal antibody depletion of neutrophils in mice was used to study the role of these cells in host resistance. Ablation of neutrophils increased susceptibility to both systemic and vaginal challenge. The fungal burden in the kidney increased threefold on day 1, and 100-fold on day 4, and infection was associated with extensive tissue destruction. However, a striking feature of the disseminated disease in neutrophil-depleted animals was the altered pattern of organ involvement. The brain, which is one of the primary target organs in normal mice, was little affected. There was a threefold increase in the number of organisms recovered from the brains of neutrophil-depleted mice on day 4 after infection, but detectable abscesses were rare. In contrast, the heart, which in normal mice shows only minor lesions, developed severe tissue damage following neutrophil depletion. Mice deficient in C5 demonstrated both qualitative and quantitative increases in the severity of infection after neutrophil depletion when compared with C5-sufficient strains. The results are interpreted as reflecting organ-specific differences in the mechanisms of host resistance.


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