Early treatment with fluconazole may abrogate the development of IgG antibodies in coccidioidomycosis

George R. Thompson, Jennine M. Lunetta, Suzanne M. Johnson, Sandra Taylor, Derek Bays, Stuart H. Cohen, Demosthenes Pappagianis

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

23 Scopus citations


Background.We have observed a number of patients who fail to develop coccidioidal complement fixing (CF) antibody (immunoglobulin [IgG]) after the initiation of early antifungal therapy. Although this is the first description of this phenomenon in mycology, a precedent for the abrogation of the immune response has been observed in other conditions, including primary syphilis and primary Lyme disease.Methods.We conducted a retrospective case-control study to determine any patient-specific risk factors associated with this observation. Additionally, in vitro analysis of the coccidioidal CF (IgG) antigen (Cts1) was performed after Coccidioides was grown under escalating fluconazole concentrations.Results.Seventeen patients persistently positive for coccidioidal IgM antibodies without developing an IgG response (cases) were compared with 64 consecutive patients who did develop coccidioidal CF (IgG) antibodies (controls). Early treatment with antifungals (within 2 weeks of symptom onset) was associated with an abrogation of IgG antibody production (P <. 001). With immunodiffusion testing, control serum demonstrated a lack of IgG seroreactivity when Coccidioides posadasii grown in the presence of escalating fluconazole doses (0.5-128 μg/mL) was used as the antigen; however, control serum remained seroreactive for the presence of IgM. The coccidioidal IgG antigen (Cts1) was shown to be diminished when cultures were grown in the presence of fluconazole, lending further in vitro plausibility to our findings.Conclusions.The abrogation of an IgG response in patients treated early in the course of coccidioidal infection may complicate serodiagnosis and epidemiologic studies, and further study to determine the potential clinical implications should be performed.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)e20-e24
JournalClinical Infectious Diseases
Issue number6
StatePublished - Sep 15 2011
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Microbiology (medical)
  • Infectious Diseases


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