Host Immune Responses Against Pulmonary Fungal Pathogens


Karen L. Wozniak, Michal Olszewski and Floyd L. Wormley Jr.






The lungs are a gateway for numerous airborne pathogens that are ubiquitous in our environment. Among these potential pathogens are fungi that can be found in the soil, bird excreta, air ducts, and many other places where their contact is unavoidable. Exposure to these fungal pathogens oftentimes goes unnoticed due to the activation of our robust immune systems which sequester and control these microbes before significant damage occurs. Still, there are many situations in which host immunity becomes compromised providing an opportunity for typically innocuous fungal organisms to become established and cause disease or for dormant infections to reawaken. Also, in certain cases disease may be exacerbated due to an over exuberant immune response. In this chapter, we will review the main aspects of innate and adaptive immune responses against pulmonary fungal pathogens. We will also discuss the potential for vaccines to prevent pulmonary fungal infections.