Research ArticleFUNGAL INFECTIONS

Microhemorrhage-associated tissue iron enhances the risk for Aspergillus fumigatus invasion in a mouse model of airway transplantation

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Science Translational Medicine  21 Feb 2018:
Vol. 10, Issue 429, eaag2616
DOI: 10.1126/scitranslmed.aag2616

Irons in the fire

Although transplantation is a lifesaving therapy, patients receiving new organs are at serious risk for invasive, potentially fatal infections. Aspergillus fumigatus is a particularly common and troublesome fungal pathogen, but its ability to invade transplant tissues is poorly understood. To evaluate this property, Hsu and colleagues infected transplants in mice. Bleeding, caused by damage to small vessels in grafted airways, led to increased tissue iron, a known growth factor for Aspergillus. Increased tissue iron is a newly identified risk factor for transplant damage by microorganisms. Therapies in development that block iron and protect blood vessels may extend the life of organ recipients.

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