Here’s a fungal infection you don’t hear much about. One of the fungi we work on, a model for mushroom development as it can be fruited in the lab is Coprinopsis cinerea (previously named Coprinus cinereus). C. cinerea is a saprobric coprophillic fungus so it is usually found on dung. Although rare in human infections there are a few reports in immunocopromised patients. Below is an abstract describing isolation of C. cinerea from an implanted heart valve from a pig. This definitely not its typical habitat and Coprinus growing in yeast form I’m sure I’ve really heard of either. Would be great to see if the clinical strains are still sexually competent and/or are significantly different in other ways (growth rate, resistance to drugs and oxidative stress) from the wild or laboratory strains.
A 77-year-old female initially presented with symptomatic mitral valve stenosis involving a bioprosthesis that had been implanted 8 months earlier for myxomatous mitral valve disease and severe valvular regurgitation. The patient was taken for a second mitral valve replacement due to stenosis. Intraoperatively, the bioprosthetic mitral valve was noted to have an unusual clot-like mass on the atrial side. Initial fungal smears were positive for yeast stains, and pathology revealed extensive colonization by thick filamentous fungus with apparent true hyphae, pseudohyphae, and yeast forms. The fungus was identified as Hormographiella aspergillata, the asexual form of Coprinus cinereus, a common inky cap mushroom that grows in the lawn.
She was treated with 6 weeks of liposomal amphotericin B and then switched to voriconazole for long-term (lifelong) suppressive therapy in the setting of a new mechanical mitral valve. The only other reported case of infective endocarditis caused by a Coprinus species occurred in a 53-year-old man who had developed native aortic valve fungal endocarditis and died [J Med Microbiol. 4(3) (1971) 370–4]. The valve isolate was identified as probable C. cinereus.
GREER, E., KOWALSKI, T., COLE, M., MILLER, D., BADDOUR, L. (2007). Truffle’s revenge: a pig-eating fungus. Cardiovascular Pathology DOI: 10.1016/j.carpath.2007.04.007