Volume 59, Issue 1
  • ISSN: 0002-9637
  • E-ISSN: 1476-1645


Paracoccidioidomycosis is a chronic granulomatous disease caused by the fungus Paracoccidioides brasiliensis. Although eosinophils have long been associated with the immune defense against helminths, the role of eosinophils in the immune response to fungal diseases is not as well studied. The eosinophil granule major basic protein is toxic to helminths and mammalian cells in vitro, and its release has been used as a marker of eosinophil localization and degranulation. To determine whether eosinophil infiltration and degranulation, as evidenced by the deposition of major basic protein, occur in lesions of P. brasiliensis, we used an immunofluorescence technique to localize the P. brasiliensis organisms and eosinophils and major basic protein. Initially, all tissues were stained with polyclonal antibody to major basic protein; subsequently, colocalization of major basic protein and P. brasiliensis by double staining with mouse and rabbit antibodies, respectively, was performed. Nine biopsy tissues from seven patients were analyzed. All nine biopsies showed infiltration of intact eosinophils using both the monoclonal and the polyclonal anti-major basic protein antibodies, along with the presence of P. brasiliensis. Furthermore, using the polyclonal anti-major basic protein antibody, nine of nine tissues showed extracellular major basic protein deposition (granular or diffuse fluorescence staining outside of intact eosinophils). The double staining procedure using the anti-major basic protein monoclonal antibody showed extracellular deposition in five of eight biopsies; in these five biopsies, approximately 60% of the areas containing P. brasiliensis had extracellular major basic protein deposited on the organisms. These observations support the hypothesis that the eosinophil, through toxic granule proteins such as major basic protein, participates in the pathophysiology of paracoccidioidomycosis.


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