Potential contribution of fungal infection and colonization to the development of allergy

Med Mycol. 2009;47(5):445-56. doi: 10.1080/13693780802641904.


Fungi have long been recognized as an important source of allergens in patients with atopic disease. In this review, we explore the hypothesis that fungal exposures resulting in colonization or infection directly influence the tendency of an individual to develop allergic disease. According to this hypothesis, fungal exposures especially those early in life may influence the manner in which the immune response handles subsequent responses to antigen exposures. Studies detailing this potential connection between fungi have already provided important insights into the immunology of fungal-human interactions and offer the potential to provide new approaches and targets for the therapy of allergic disease. The first half of this review summarizes the data concerning fungal infections and asthma, including possible connections between fungal infections and urban asthma. The second half explores the potential role of the fungal gastrointestinal microbiota in promoting allergic inflammation.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Candida / pathogenicity
  • Host-Pathogen Interactions
  • Humans
  • Hypersensitivity / microbiology*
  • Mycoses / immunology*
  • Respiratory Hypersensitivity