Veronaea botryosa is a ubiquitous, dematiaceous mold capable of causing cutaneous and subcutaneous lesions in humans. In the last decade, V. botryosa has been associated with emergent systemic fungal infections in aquatic animals, including cultured sturgeon (Acipenser spp.), captive amphibians, and wild reptiles. Recently, repetitive extragenic palindromic PCR (rep-PCR) fingerprinting has demonstrated intraspecific variability among V. botryosa isolates from different clinically affected hosts and geographic regions. However, little is known regarding the pathogenic potential of the different genetic clades, and no mammalian model currently exists to investigate V. botryosa phaeohyphomycosis. In this study, we inoculated immunocompetent heterozygotic (nu/+) and immunodeficient homozygotic (nu/nu) Hsd:Athymic Nude-Fox1nu mice subcutaneously or through orogastric gavage with 1 of 3 representative V. botryosa strains that had been recovered from white sturgeon (Acipenser transmontanus), green sea turtle (Chelonia mydas), and human hosts and typed by using rep-PCR analysis. Daily mortality and morbidity were recorded, and dissemination of the fungus was investigated through culture of splenic samples and histologic analysis of the injection site, regional lymph nodes, salivary gland, spleen, liver, mesenteric lymph node, and gastrointestinal tract. No differences in survival, fungal burden, or dissemination were observed between fungal strains, routes of inoculation, or host immune status. Fungal infection was observed after subcutaneous inoculation only, was localized to the inoculation site, and was identified in both nu/nu and nu/+ mice. Fungal strain variability was not associated with virulence in a murine model of infection, and this novel mouse model of V. botryosa phaeohyphomycosis recapitulates the human clinical condition.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology(all)