Cutaneous phaeohyphomycosis caused by Exophiala spinifera in a patient with systemic lupus erythematosus

Exophiala spinifera can induce both phaeohyphomycosis and chromomycosis. To date there have been 18 human infections caused by E. spinifera in the English literature. A case of E. spinifera-induced phaeohyphomycosis in a patient with systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE) is described. Direct microscopic examination of the pus showed branched, septate and chained hyphae and spores. A dark green velvety colony grew on Sabouraud dextrose agar. Slide culture showed branched, septate hyphae and spine-like annellated conidiophores. Histopathological biopsy revealed yellowish brown hyphae and spores. The isolate was identified as E. spinifera by DNA sequence analysis. The strain was unable to liquefy gelatin, grew at 25°C to 39°C, and was sensitive to itraconazole, amphotericin B, and terbinafine. To our knowledge, this is the first case of cutaneous phaeohyphomycosis caused by E. spinifera in SLE patients.

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