Production of the hexitol D-mannitol by Cryptococcus neoformans in vitro and in rabbits with experimental meningitis

B. Wong, J. R. Perfect, S. Beggs, K. A. Wright

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

70 Scopus citations


We studied the ability of Cryptococcus neoformans to produce the hexitol D-mannitol in vitro and in rabbits with experimental meningitis. Twelve of twelve human isolates of C. neoformans produced D-mannitol in yeast nitrogen base plus 1% glucose and released D-mannitol into the medium. In a pilot study, pooled cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) from cortisone-treated rabbits given 3 x 107 C. neoformans H99 intracisternally contained more D-mannitol (identified by gas chromatography and enzymatically) than CSF from normal controls or cortisone-untreated rabbits with self-limited meningitis. In a second experiment, cortisone-treated rabbits given C. neoformans intracisternally had significantly higher CSF D-mannitol concentrations than controls given cortisone alone at 4, 6, and 8 days after infection. Moreover, log10 CSF D-mannitol correlated well with log10 CSF CFU (r = 0.81) and log10 CSF cryptococcal antigen titers (r = 0.78). Lastly, the initial volume of distribution and elimination half-life of D-mannitol given intracisternally to normal rabbits suggested that D-mannitol was distributed in total CSF and was removed by CSF bulk flow. Thus, C. neoformans produces D-mannitol in vitro and in vivo, and D-mannitol is a quantitative marker for experimental cryptococcal meningitis. D-Mannitol produced by C. neoformans may also contribute to brain edema and interfere with phagocyte killing by scavenging hydroxyl radicals.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1664-1670
Number of pages7
JournalInfection and Immunity
Issue number6
StatePublished - 1990

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Parasitology
  • Microbiology
  • Immunology
  • Infectious Diseases


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