Reference Work Entry

Encyclopedia of Molecular Mechanisms of Disease

pp 516-517


  • Anca SindrilaruAffiliated withDepartment of Dermatology, University Hospital of Muenster
  • , Cord SunderkötterAffiliated withDepartment of Dermatology, University Hospital of Muenster


Ringworm; Tinea

Definition and Characteristics

Infection of keratinized tissues such as the superficial cornified skin layers, hair follicle, and nails by dermatophyte fungi.


The most frequent infectious disease in humans. Interdigital mycosis and tinea pedis have a prevalence of about 10%. It occurs in healthy individuals, but known risk factors include local abrasion of the dermis, minor traumas to the nail (e.g., during jogging) and local moisture combined with exposure to high fungal inoculum as found e.g., in public dressing rooms of showers or pools. Factors favoring dermatomycosis are arterial occlusive disease or venous stasis, metabolic diseases such as diabetes mellitus and immuodeficiency syndromes.

Molecular and Systemic Pathophysiology

Dermatophytes are fungi belonging to three asexual genera, Microsporum, Trichophyton and Epidermophyton, from the genus Arthroderma. Dermatoph ...

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