It's all in your head: antifungal immunity in the brain

Curr Opin Microbiol. 2020 Dec;58:41-46. doi: 10.1016/j.mib.2020.07.011. Epub 2020 Aug 20.


As the incidence rate of invasive fungal infections has increased with the use of modern medical interventions, so too has the occurrence of fungi invading the brain. Fungi such as Candida albicans, Cryptococcus neoformans, and Aspergillus fumigatus often infect immunocompromised individuals, and can use several strategies to invade the central nervous system (CNS) by penetrating the blood-brain barrier. Once in the brain parenchyma the specialized resident immune cells need to effectively recognize the fungus and mount an appropriate immune response to clear the infection, without causing debilitating immune-mediated toxicity and neuronal damage. Here we review the current knowledge pertaining to the antifungal response of the CNS and highlight areas where future research is required.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Intramural
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Brain / immunology*
  • Brain Diseases / immunology
  • Brain Diseases / microbiology
  • Fungi / genetics
  • Fungi / physiology*
  • Humans
  • Immunity
  • Invasive Fungal Infections / immunology*
  • Invasive Fungal Infections / microbiology