Candida species infections are an important worldwide health issue since they do not only affect immunocompromised patients but also healthy individuals. Indeed Candida spp. are present as commensal flora in the host human body but they can switch into a pathological form inducing cellular damage and disease. Among Candida strains, C. albicans is the most prevalent in both mucosal and systemic infections. The host developed different mechanisms of protection against Candida infections; specifically the immune system and the innate immune response are the first line of defence. Defensis are a group of antimicrobial peptides, components of the innate immunity, produced at mucosal level and known to be active against bacteria, virus but also fungi. Defensins are able to recognize the pathogens cell wall (different in composition from the human ones), and disrupt it through membrane permeabilization. Although the exact mechanisms of defensins anti-fungal action are not completely elucidated, the findings of the reviewed studies highlight the pivotal role of these peptides in the immune response against Candida infections.

Candida Infections and Human Defensins

Segat, Ludovica;Crovella, Sergio;Zupin, Luisa
2017-01-01

Abstract

Candida species infections are an important worldwide health issue since they do not only affect immunocompromised patients but also healthy individuals. Indeed Candida spp. are present as commensal flora in the host human body but they can switch into a pathological form inducing cellular damage and disease. Among Candida strains, C. albicans is the most prevalent in both mucosal and systemic infections. The host developed different mechanisms of protection against Candida infections; specifically the immune system and the innate immune response are the first line of defence. Defensis are a group of antimicrobial peptides, components of the innate immunity, produced at mucosal level and known to be active against bacteria, virus but also fungi. Defensins are able to recognize the pathogens cell wall (different in composition from the human ones), and disrupt it through membrane permeabilization. Although the exact mechanisms of defensins anti-fungal action are not completely elucidated, the findings of the reviewed studies highlight the pivotal role of these peptides in the immune response against Candida infections.
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