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Canadian Journal of Infectious Diseases
Volume 10 (1999), Issue 2, Pages 147-155

Host Defence to Pulmonary Mycosis

Christopher H Mody1,2 and Peter W Warren2

1Department of Internal Medicine, The University of Calgary, Calgary, Alberta, Canada
2Department of Microbiology and Infectious Disease, The University of Calgary, Calgary, Alberta, Canada

Copyright © 1999 Hindawi Publishing Corporation. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


OBJECTIVE: To provide a basic understanding of the mechanisms of host defense to pathogenic fungi. This will help physicians understand why some patients are predisposed to fungal infections and update basic scientists on how microbial immunology applies to fungal disease.

DATA SOURCES: English articles from 1966 to present were identified from a MEDLINE search.

STUDY SELECTION: Articles were identified by a MEDLINE search of ‘exp lung/’ or ‘exp lung diseases/’ and ‘exp fungi/’. The titles and abstracts were screened to identify articles that contained salient information pertaining to host defense of respiratory mycoses.

DATA EXTRACTION: Information was summarized from the articles pertaining to host defense of pulmonary mycosis that had been identified by the MEDLINE search.

DATA SYNTHESIS: Fungi represent a unique and highly diverse group of pathogenic organisms that have become an increasingly prevalent cause of life-threatening illness. A worldwide increase in persons with immunodeficiency has been a major contributing factor to the increase in fungal disease. As a result, clinicians are faced with an expanding array of fungal infections that pose diagnostic and therapeutic challenges. The respiratory tract is the route of acquisition for many important fungal infections; thus, understanding the host defense in the lung is an essential component of understanding host defense to fungal disease. With this understanding, fungi may be divided on the basis of the predilection of certain mycosis for specific immune defects.

CONCLUSIONS: By separating fungi based on the host immune defects that predispose to disease, in conjunction with traditional divisions based on the geographic distribution of fungi, clinicians are able to focus their diagnostic efforts and to identify fungal pathogens better. In addition, an understanding of the normal host defense mechanisms that serve to control fungal infections is essential to the development of novel antifungal therapies.