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UMD discovers new mechanism in the liver that helps prevent invasive fungal infections

from University of Maryland via EurekAlert!

As a world-renowned expert using intravital microscopy to observe fungal infection progression in live samples, Meiqing Shi, associate professor with the University of Maryland Department of Veterinary Medicine, continues to make new breakthroughs in the field. In his latest paper published in Nature Communications, Shi and his lab have discovered a new pathway by which liver macrophages called Kupffer cells capture potentially fatal fungi in the bloodstream before dissemination to target organs like the brain or kidney. "Cryptococcus and Candida are fungi that are actually everywhere," says Shi. "People with healthy immune systems can usually control the fungi after infection, but once it gets into the bloodstream, either one of these fungi can get into the target organs and become fatal. For Cryptococcus, this is especially a problem for those with impaired immune systems, like HIV patients or organ transplant patients. Patients with liver disease are also more prone to Cryptococcus infection, and no one understood why before." more


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