, Volume 165, Issue 4–5, pp 209–221 | Cite as

An overview of the immunopathology of human paracoccidioidomycosis

  • Gil Benard


We review here the advances in the understanding of the immunopathology of human paracoccidioidomycosis (PCM). Its investigation must take in account the intriguing natural history of the mycosis and its agent, providing clues to the mechanisms that lead to development of disease (unbalanced host–parasite relationship?) or to the clinically silent, chronic carrier state (balanced host–parasite relationship?), in exposed people living in endemic areas. Although the literature on this subject has progressed notably, the overall picture of what are the mechanisms of susceptibility or resistance continues to be fragmentary. Major advances were seen in the description of both the cytokines/chemokines associated to the different outcomes of the host-parasite interaction, and the fungus-monocyte/macrophage interaction, and cytokines released thereof by these cells. However, relatively few studies have attempted to modify, even in vitro, the patients’ unbalanced immune reactivity. Consequently, the benefits of this improved knowledge did not yet reach clinical practice. Fortunately, the previous notion of the immune system as having two nearly independent arms, the innate and adaptive immunities, leaving a large gap between them, is now being overcome. Immunologists are now trying to dissect the connections between these two arms. This will certainly lead to more productive results. Current investigations should address the innate immunity events that trigger the IL-12/IFN-γ axis and confer protection against PCM in those individuals living in endemic areas, who have been infected, but did not develop the mycosis.


Paracoccidioidomycosis Paracoccidioides brasiliensis Human immunology Cytokines T-cell Immunesuppression Macrophages 


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© Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2007

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Laboratory of Dermatology and Immunodeficiencies (LIM-56)Medical School of the University of São PauloSao PauloBrazil

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