Cytokines in Immunodeficient Patients With Invasive Fungal Infections: An Emerging Therapy

Int J Infect Dis. 2002 Sep;6(3):154-63. doi: 10.1016/s1201-9712(02)90104-9.


Immune response is the major contributor to host defense against opportunistic fungal infections such as candidiasis, aspergillosis and other rare infections. A number of cytokines have been developed and studied in vitro for activity against fungal pathogens. The most studied among them in relation to fungal infections are granulocyte colony-stimulating factor (G-CSF), granulocyte-macrophage colony-stimulating factor (GM-CSF), macrophage colony-stimulating factor (M-CSF) and interferon-gamma (IFN-gamma). The fields where these cytokines have been predominantly studied or where they may need more study are primary immunodeficiencies of the phagocytic cells, neonatal age, human immunodeficiency virus infection and cancer-related conditions such as neutropenia and hemopoietic cell transplantation. In this review, the in vitro, experimental animal and clinical data of cytokines are summarized in relation to invasive candidiasis, aspergillosis and emerging fungal infections. Cytokine administration to patients together with antifungal agents, as well as transfusion of cytokine-upgraded phagocytes, are promising immunotherapeutic modalities for further research.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Animals
  • Aspergillosis / drug therapy
  • Aspergillosis / immunology
  • Candidiasis / drug therapy
  • Candidiasis / immunology
  • Cytokines / therapeutic use*
  • Humans
  • Immunocompromised Host*
  • Male
  • Mice
  • Mycoses / drug therapy*
  • Mycoses / immunology*


  • Cytokines