Candida albicans infections range from superficial to systemic and are one of the leading causes of fungus-associated nosocomial infections. The innate immune responses during these various infection types differ, suggesting that the host environment plays a key role in modulating the host-pathogen interaction. In addition, C. albicans is able to remodel its cell wall in response to environmental conditions to evade host clearance mechanisms and establish infection in niches, such as the oral and vaginal mucosa. Phagocytes play a key role in clearing C. albicans, which is primarily mediated by Pathogen Associated Molecular Pattern (PAMP)-Pattern Recognition Receptor (PRR) interactions. PRRs such as Dectin-1, DC-SIGN, and TLR2 and TLR4 interact with PAMPs such as β-glucans, N-mannan and O-mannan, respectively, to trigger the activation of innate immune cells. Innate immune cells exhibit distinct yet overlapping repertoires of PAMPs, resulting in the preferential recognition of particular Candida morphotypes by them. The role of phagocytes in the context of individual infection types also differs, with neutrophils playing a prominent role in kidney infections, and dendritic cells playing a prominent role in skin infections. In this review, we provide an overview of the key receptors involved in the detection of C. albicans and discuss the differential innate immune responses to C. albicans seen in different infection types such as vulvovaginal candidiasis (VVC) and oral candidiasis.
Keywords: Candida; candidiasis; cell wall; macrophage; neutrophil.