Lab Med Online.  2016 Oct;6(4):250-254. 10.3343/lmo.2016.6.4.250.

A Case of Pneumonia Caused by Pneumocystis jirovecii Resistant to Trimethoprim/Sulfamethoxazole in the Absence of Previous Drug Exposure

  • 1Department of Laboratory Medicine, Asan Medical Center and University of Ulsan College of Medicine, Seoul, Korea.


Pneumocystis jirovecii pneumonia is a common opportunistic infection seen in patients with human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) infection. Dihydropteroate synthase (DHPS) is a target of sulfa drugs, and mutations in DHPS gene are associated with failure in treatment and prophylaxis of P. jirovecii infections in HIV-infected patients. Here, we report a case of a patient with P. jirovecii infection, harboring DHPS gene mutations, who had not been previously treated with trimethoprim/sulfamethoxazole (TMP/SMX). A 50-yr-old man was admitted to the hospital with symptoms such as fever, cough, sputum, and sore throat. Chest computed tomography scanning revealed diffuse ground glass opacity in both the lungs, and the patient was diagnosed as having HIV infection with a CD4+ T cell count of 22/µL. Immunohistochemical test results were positive for P. jirovecii. He was treated with TMP/SMX; however, his symptoms and laboratory findings did not improve. The treatment was changed to clindamycin and primaquine, and his symptoms improved after 3 days. Molecular testing of the sample for the detection of DHPS gene mutations and the typing of mitochondrial large subunit rRNA (mtlsurRNA) revealed DHPS gene mutations at codon 55 and 57, respectively, and the case had type 3 mtlsurRNA. This case study illustrates that DHPS mutation test results can be positive even in patients without previous exposure to TMP/SMX.


Pneumocystis jirovecii; Dihydropteroate synthase; HIV
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