Mycology - an update. Part 1: Dermatomycoses: causative agents, epidemiology and pathogenesis

J Dtsch Dermatol Ges. 2014 Mar;12(3):188-209; quiz 210, 188-211; quiz 212. doi: 10.1111/ddg.12245. Epub 2014 Feb 17.


Dermatomycoses are caused most commonly by dermatophytes. The anthropophilic dermatophyte Trichophyton rubrum is still the most frequent causative agent worldwide. Keratinolytic enzymes, e.g. hydrolases and keratinases, are important virulence factors of T. rubrum. Recently, the cysteine dioxygenase was found as new virulence factor. Predisposing host factors play a similarly important role for the development of dermatophytosis of the skin and nails. Chronic venous insufficiency, diabetes mellitus, disorders of cellular immunity, and genetic predisposition should be considered as risk factors for onychomycosis. A new alarming trend is the increasing number of cases of onychomycosis - mostly due to T. rubrum - in infancy. In Germany, tinea capitis is mostly caused by zoophilic dermatophytes, in particular Microsporum canis. New zoophilic fungi, primarily Trichophyton species of Arthroderma benhamiae, should be taken into differential diagnostic considerations of tinea capitis, tinea faciei, and tinea corporis. Source of infection are small household pets, particularly rodents, like guinea pigs. Anthropophilic dermatophytes may be introduced by families which immigrate from Africa or Asia to Europe. The anthropophilic dermatophytes T. violaceum, T. tonsurans (infections occurring in fighting sports clubs as "tinea gladiatorum capitis et corporis") and M. audouinii are causing outbreaks of small epidemics of tinea corporis and tinea capitis in kindergartens and schools. Superficial infections of the skin and mucous membranes due to yeasts are caused by Candida species. Also common are infections due to the lipophilic yeast fungus Malassezia. Today, within the genus Malassezia more than 10 different species are known. Malassezia globosa seems to play the crucial role in pityriasis versicolor. Molds (also designated non-dermatophyte molds, NDM) are increasingly found as causative agents in onychomycosis. Besides Scopulariopsis brevicaulis, several species of Fusarium and Aspergillus are found.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Arthrodermataceae / isolation & purification*
  • Causality
  • Comorbidity
  • Dermatomycoses / epidemiology*
  • Dermatomycoses / genetics
  • Dermatomycoses / microbiology*
  • Diabetes Mellitus / epidemiology*
  • Diabetes Mellitus / genetics
  • Diabetes Mellitus / microbiology
  • Evidence-Based Medicine
  • Genetic Predisposition to Disease / genetics
  • Humans
  • Immune System Diseases / epidemiology*
  • Immune System Diseases / genetics
  • Immune System Diseases / microbiology
  • Prevalence
  • Risk Factors
  • Survival Rate
  • Venous Insufficiency / epidemiology*
  • Venous Insufficiency / genetics
  • Venous Insufficiency / microbiology