Immune responses to fungal infections and therapeutic implications.

M. Altamura, D. Casale, M. Pepe, A. Tafaro

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


Host responses to fungi result from a coordinate interplay between innate and adaptative immune system. Neutrophils and monocytes are involved in the non specific clearance of yeasts (e.g. Candida albicans and Cryptococcus neoformans), while T helper 1 type responses are protective via release of interferon gamma. By contrast, T helper 2 responses (IL-4 and IL 10 release) correlate with disease exacerbation and pathology. IL-12 production which enhances T helper 1 type responses seem to exert a beneficial role in the course of Candida infection. In particular, its production from neutrophilis may support memory T helper 1 cell responses of the fungus. With respect to anti-Candida vaccines several approaches are in progress, such as use of heat-killed Candida albicans in combination with adjuvants, purified peptides and proteins and immunogenic peptide-lipid conjugates. Furthermore, exogenous IL-12 may play an important role in inducing a T helper 1 anticandidal response, also replacing neutrophils in neutropenic patients. At the same time, granulocyte-colony stimulating factor has exhibited therapeutic efficacy in experimental and human models of fungal infection.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)189-197
Number of pages9
JournalCurrent Drug Targets: Immune, Endocrine and Metabolic Disorders
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - Nov 2001

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Endocrinology, Diabetes and Metabolism
  • Immunology and Allergy

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