Histoplasmosis pathophysiology

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Editor-In-Chief: C. Michael Gibson, M.S., M.D. [1]; Associate Editor(s)-in-Chief: Aravind Kuchkuntla, M.B.B.S[2]


Histoplasmosis is typically acquired via inhalation of airborne microconidia, often after disturbance of contaminated material in the soil. In majority of the patients the infection is asymtomatic and resolves with host's immune response. In few patients inhalation of large amount of inoculum can result in an acute pulmonary infection with symptoms resembling pneumonia. In patients with immunosuppression, they are unable to mount an adequate T-cell mediated immune response resulting in uncontrolled growth of the organism with spread to the surrounding tissue and increasing the morbidity and mortality of the infection.



  • Soil is the reservior for histoplasma microconidia, particularly when heavily contaminated with bird or bat droppings.


  • The areas contaminated with histoplasma microconidia are called microfoci and disturbance of these microfoci will result in exposure to them.
  • The activities which expose the patient to histoplasma microconidia include farming, exposure to chicken coops or caves and sites where black birds have roosted.
  • Histoplasmosis is typically acquired via inhalation of airborne microconidia, often after disturbance of contaminated material in the soil.


Microscopic pathology


  1. Zhu C, Wang G, Chen Q, He B, Wang L (2016). "Pulmonary histoplasmosis in a immunocompetent patient: A case report and literature review". Exp Ther Med. 12 (5): 3256–3260. doi:10.3892/etm.2016.3774. PMC 5103774. PMID 27882146.
  2. Horwath MC, Fecher RA, Deepe GS (2015). "Histoplasma capsulatum, lung infection and immunity". Future Microbiol. 10 (6): 967–75. doi:10.2217/fmb.15.25. PMC 4478585. PMID 26059620.
  3. Edwards JA, Rappleye CA (2011). "Histoplasma mechanisms of pathogenesis--one portfolio doesn't fit all". FEMS Microbiol Lett. 324 (1): 1–9. doi:10.1111/j.1574-6968.2011.02363.x. PMC 3228276. PMID 22092757.
  4. Information for Healthcare Professionals about Histoplasmosis. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. 2015. Available at: http://www.cdc.gov/fungal/diseases/histoplasmosis/health-professionals.html. Accessed February 2, 2016.
  5. Raina RK, Mahajan V, Sood A, Saurabh S (2016). "Primary Cutaneous Histoplasmosis in an Immunocompetent Host from a Nonendemic Area". Indian J Dermatol. 61 (4): 467. doi:10.4103/0019-5154.185748. PMC 4966422. PMID 27512207.