Immunoregulation of dermatophytosis

Crit Rev Microbiol. 1989;16(5):339-68. doi: 10.3109/10408418909104472.


Dermatophytoses are superficial infections caused by a group of fungi, the dermatophytes, which invade keratinized tissue of skin, hair, and nails in humans and animals. The importance of normal immune function in resistance to dermatophytoses is substantiated by an increased susceptibility to chronic infection seen in patients with impaired immunological responses. Humoral and cell-mediated immunities are both elicited during the infection. However, specific antibodies to dermatophytes do not seem to play a major role in protective immunity. On the other hand, the development of cell-mediated immunity during the infection is critical in eliciting resistance to the disease. For instance, resolution of the disease in both naturally and experimentally infected humans and animals correlates with the development of delayed-type hypersensitivity (DTH), whereas persistence of infection is frequently accompanied by poor in vitro blastogenic response and absent DTH. Furthermore, in experimentally infected mice, immunity to dermatophyte infection can be achieved by adoptive transfer of lymphoid cells, but not by serum, of infected donors. The present review includes an overview of published work and current research on the cellular events implicated in immunity to dermatophytosis. The role of humoral factors in such immunoregulation is also discussed.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Antibodies, Fungal / immunology*
  • Antigens, Fungal / immunology*
  • Arthrodermataceae / immunology*
  • Binding, Competitive
  • Dermatomycoses / immunology*
  • Disease Susceptibility
  • Humans
  • Immune Sera / immunology
  • Immune Tolerance
  • Immunity, Cellular
  • Immunity, Innate


  • Antibodies, Fungal
  • Antigens, Fungal
  • Immune Sera