Cryptococcosis, A Risk for Immunocompromised and Immunocompetent Individuals

Maurimélia Mesquita da Costa1, 2, Francisco Martins Teixeira1, Taysa Ribeiro Schalcher1, Mioni Thielli Figueiredo Magalhães de Brito1, Erika Silva Valerio1, Marta Chagas Monteiro*, 1, 2
1 Faculty of Pharmacy, Program in Pharmaceutical Science, Federal University of Pará (UFPA), Pará, Brazil
2 Evandro Chagas Institute, Bacteriology and Mycology Section, Mycology Laboratory, Belém, Pará, Brazil. Program inBiology of Infectious and Parasitic Agents, Institute of Biological Sciences Federal University of Pará (UFPA), Pará,Brazil

© 2013Mesquita da Costa et al..

open-access license: This is an open access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International Public License (CC-BY 4.0), a copy of which is available at: ( This license permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original author and source are credited.

* Address correspondence to this author at the Departamento de Farmacia, Universidade Federal do Para - UFPA, Belém, PA, Brazil; Tel: +55 91 3201-7202; Fax: +55 91 3201-7201; E-mail:


The genus Cryptococcus includes at least 37 different species, of which, two are important human pathogens: Cryptococcus neoformans and Cryptococcus gattii. These fungi are opportunistic pathogens and etiologic agents of cryptococcosis disease in humans and animals. A variety of virulence factors interfere with the establishment of cryptococcal infection is usually acquired via inhalation of environmental basidiospores or desiccated yeasts. Cryptococcosis has gained medical importance over the last decade due to the AIDS pandemic, and become an emerging pathogen of immunocompetent individuals, especially in children. This disease in humans may involve every tissue, including cutaneous and pulmonary sites, but the most serious manifestation is central nervous system involvement with meningoencephalitis. In this review, we briefly described the taxonomy, the fungus biology, epidemiology and clinical manifestations of cryptococcosis in immunocompetent and immunocompromised individuals.

Keywords: Cryptococcus neoformans, Cryptococcus gattii, cryptococcosis, immunocompetent individuals, immunocompromised individuals.