Welcome to the Fungal Underground Q&A. This is where I am compiling many of my questions and possible answers regarding my lifelong biological interactions(commensalism) with human fungal pathogens(opportunistic mycoses), diseases like cancer and why they like our skin so darn much. And looking for the best answers for why I am so driven to improve the quality of the skin I live in.
Human fungal pathogens: Why should we learn?
Content Source: US National Library of Medicine/National Institutes of Health
Fungi can infect humans and cause various diseases from superficial infections of the skin and mucosal surfaces to invasive infections of internal organs. While superficial infections are common and generally easy to cure, invasive infections have a much lower incidence rate than superficial infections and cause life threatening diseases, particularly in immunocompromised patients with HIV/AIDS or autoimmune diseases and in those undergoing anti-cancer chemotherapy or organ transplantation.
Paradoxically, modern medicine has greatly increased the number of immunosuppressed patients who are at high risk for invasive infections. Human pathogenic fungi causing invasive infections kill about one and a half million people every year, giving them the name hidden killers (Brown et al., 2012). Nonetheless, research on human fungal pathogens has not progressed as much as research on other microbial pathogens, and the slow progress in the field has hampered the development of novel antifungal drugs as well as techniques for diagnosing invasive fungal diseases. Among the estimated 3.5–5.1 million fungal species (O’Brien et al., 2005), only several hundred species are associated with human fungal diseases (Köhler et al., 2014). Just a small number of species among the human pathogenic fungi cause the most common invasive infections in immunocompromised individuals.
- Candida albicans
- Cryptococcus neoformans
- Aspergillus fumigatus
- Histoplasma capsulatum
C. albicans is a commensal fungus which exists as a normal microflora in the human body but becomes pathogenic if the host immune defense system is weakened.
C. neoformans, A. fumigatus, and H. capsulatum are environmental pathogens, and spores or yeast form cells that are accidentally inhaled cause invasive infections in immunocompromised patients(Reedy et al., 2007).
The following PDF document will provide a comprehensive review on a range of research subjects: essential concepts of fungal pathogenesis, molecular mechanisms of morphogenesis and virulence, interactions between pathogenic fungi and host cells, involvement of cellular structures in virulence, developmental regulators of pathogenic fungi, and the emergence of drug-resistance strains. This document also includes reviews about the host immune system and mechanisms to evade it.