Extrapulmonary Aspergillus infection in patients with CARD9 deficiency

Nikolaus Rieber, Roel P. Gazendam, Alexandra F. Freeman, Amy P. Hsu, Amanda L. Collar, Janyce A. Sugui, Rebecca A. Drummond, Chokechai Rongkavilit, Kevin Hoffman, Carolyn Henderson, Lily Clark, Markus Mezger, Muthulekha Swamydas, Maik Engeholm, Rebecca Schüle, Bettina Neumayer, Frank Ebel, Constantinos M. Mikelis, Stefania Pittaluga, Vinod K. PrasadAnurag Singh, Joshua D. Milner, Kelli W. Williams, Jean K. Lim, Kyung J. Kwon-Chung, Steven M. Holland, Dominik Hartl, Taco W. Kuijpers, Michail S. Lionakis

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

98 Scopus citations


Invasive pulmonary aspergillosis is a life-threatening mycosis that only affects patients with immunosuppression, chemotherapy-induced neutropenia, transplantation, or congenital immunodeficiency. We studied the clinical, genetic, histological, and immunological features of 2 unrelated patients without known immunodeficiency who developed extrapulmonary invasive aspergillosis at the ages of 8 and 18. One patient died at age 12 with progressive intra-abdominal aspergillosis. The other patient had presented with intra-abdominal candidiasis at age 9, and developed central nervous system aspergillosis at age 18 and intra-abdominal aspergillosis at age 25. Neither patient developed Aspergillus infection of the lungs. One patient had homozygous M1I CARD9 (caspase recruitment domain family member 9) mutation, while the other had homozygous Q295X CARD9 mutation; both patients lacked CARD9 protein expression. The patients had normal monocyte and Th17 cell numbers in peripheral blood, but their mononuclear cells exhibited impaired production of proinflammatory cytokines upon fungus-specific stimulation. Neutrophil phagocytosis, killing, and oxidative burst against Aspergillus fumigatus were intact, but neither patient accumulated neutrophils in infected tissue despite normal neutrophil numbers in peripheral blood. The neutrophil tissue accumulation defect was not caused by defective neutrophil-intrinsic chemotaxis, indicating that production of neutrophil chemoattractants in extrapulmonary tissue is impaired in CARD9 deficiency. Taken together, our results show that CARD9 deficiency is the first known inherited or acquired condition that predisposes to extrapulmonary Aspergillus infection with sparing of the lungs, associated with impaired neutrophil recruitment to the site of infection.

Original languageEnglish
Article numbere89890
JournalJCI Insight
Issue number17
StatePublished - 2021
Externally publishedYes


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