Humans are exceptional among vertebrates in that their living tissue is directly exposed to the outside world. In the absence of protective scales, feathers, or fur, the skin has to be highly effective in defending the organism against the gamut of opportunistic fungi surrounding us. Most (sub)cutaneous infections enter the body by implantation through the skin barrier. On intact skin, two types of fungal expansion are noted: (A) colonization by commensals, i.e., growth enabled by conditions prevailing on the skin surface without degradation of tissue, and (B) infection by superficial pathogens that assimilate epidermal keratin and interact with the cellular immune system. In a response-damage framework, all fungi are potentially able to cause disease, as a balance between their natural predilection and the immune status of the host. For this reason, we will not attribute a fixed ecological term to each species, but rather describe them as growing in a commensal state (A) or in a pathogenic state (B).
|Title of host publication||The fungal kingdom|
|Publication status||Published - 01 Jul 2017|
de Hoog, S., Monod, M., Dawson, T., Boekhout, T., Mayser, P., & Graeser, Y. (2017). Skin Fungi from Colonization to Infection. In The fungal kingdom (Vol. 5) https://doi.org/10.1128/microbiolspec.FUNK-0049-2016