The role of phagocytes in immunity to Candida albicans

Annabelle Small, Jovanka King, Deborah Rathjen, Antonio Ferrante

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapterpeer-review

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Body clearance of fungi such as Candida albicans involves phagocytosis by fixed tissue macrophages as well as infiltrating monocytes and neutrophils. Through phagocytosis, the fungi are confined and killed by the oxidative and non-oxidative anti-microbial systems. These include oxygen derived reactive species, generated from the activation
of the NADPH oxidase complex and granule constituents. These same mechanisms are responsible for the damage to hyphal forms of C. albicans. Complement promotes phagocytosis, through their interaction with a series of complement receptors including the recently described complement receptor immunoglobulin. However, it is also evident that under other conditions, the killing of yeast and hyphal forms can occur in a complement-independent manner. Phagocytosis and killing of Candida is enhanced by the cytokine network, such as tumour necrosis factor and interferon gamma. Patients with primary immunodeficiency diseases who have phagocytic deficiencies, such as those with defects in the NADPH oxidase complex are predisposed to fungal infections, providing evidence for the critical role of phagocytes in anti-fungal immunity. Secondary immunodeficiencies can arise as a result of treatment with anticancer or other immunosuppressive drugs. These agents may also predispose patients to fungal infections due to their ability to compromise the anti-microbial activity of phagocytes.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationCandida Albicans
EditorsDoblin Sandai
PublisherInTech Open
Number of pages24
ISBN (Electronic)9781839621529
ISBN (Print)9781838801601, 9781838801595
Publication statusPublished - 2019
Externally publishedYes

Bibliographical note

Link to entire Open Access book, Candida Albicans:


  • Candida albicans
  • Macrophages
  • Neutrophils
  • Complement
  • Innate immunity
  • Phagocytosis
  • Fungal killing mechanisms
  • Cytokines
  • Trained immunity
  • Immunodeficiency
  • Immunopharmacology


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