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Dermatopathology

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Alternariosis

Cutaneous alternariosis is an opportunistic infection that has been described mainly in immunocompromised patients. The fungus has a characteristic morphology for the genus Alternaria being a thin septated fungus almost reminiscent of fusarium and aspergillosis however it is pigmented representing a dematiaceous or darkly pigmented fungus. The dematiaceous fungus has unique pathogenic mechanisms owing to the presence of melanin in their cell walls. The melanin pigment is a virulence factor conferring a protective advantage, scavenging free radicals and hypochlorite that are produced by phagocytic cells and kill most organisms. Alternaria infection has a broad clinical spectrum of cutaneous manifestations including vegetating tumorous infiltrates whereby the predisposing factors are jobs with frequent contact with soil, diabetes mellitus, and local skin trauma associated with immunosuppression.

Weill Cornell Medicine Dermatopathology 1300 York Avenue
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