Affiliation: Department of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology, University of Gujrat, Gujrat, Pakistan.
The most prevalent skin infections are mainly caused by species of dermatophytes of the genera Trichophyton, Microsporum, and Epidermophyton that infect keratinized tissues and stratum corneum of skin and hair. Besides proteases with putative role of kinases and other enzymes, immune modulators are abundantly secreted during infection as well. The molecular mechanism used by the dermatophytes to infect and counteract the host immune response is not well understood. The defense against infections basically depends on the host's immune responses to metabolites of the fungi, virulence of the infecting strain or species and anatomical site of the infection. The two aspects of the immune system, the immediate hypersensitivity and delayed-type hypersensitivity against dermatophytes may be crucial to the progression and severity of skin infection. Management of the infection through species identification and molecular diagnostic techniques as well as use of novel targeted drugs in addition to conventional anti-fungal compounds is of great importance in dealing with disease onsets and outbreaks. Here we reviewed the fungal skin infections elucidating their biologic and immunologic characteristics. Reaction to fungal invasion by the infected epithelial tissue on the host side is also discussed. Moreover, determinants of protective immunity and treatment options are focused that could confer long-lasting resistance to infection.