Candida is a unicellular organism belonging to the genus of fungi, also called yeast. The most common and significant species is Candida albicans for its clinical impact. Infections caused by fungi are known as mycosis.
Species: C. albicans; C. glabrata; C. Krusei; C. parapsilosis; C.tropicalis, etc.
Candida, like all yeasts of its kind, needs a warm and humid environment to live and develop, so it is common to find it in the human mucous membranes, especially the oral, digestive and genital mucosa. Usually, in normal health, the immune system keeps the growth of the yeast under control. If you are sick, immunocompromised or take antibiotics, they can multiply and cause an infection. Mycoses caused by C. albicans or by other Candida species are called (candidiasis).
Pathogenicity factors of Candida
The pathogenic potential of the yeasts varies considerably. These are not a component
passive of the infectious process, but they possess a series of virulence factors. There is no single factor that can be considered alone responsible for pathogenicity, but rather a combination of different factors contributing to one or more stages of the infection has been proposed. Main
virulence factors, which have been studied in depth for C. albicans
- Adhesion capacity of yeast at different surfaces: it is a strong interaction between a yeast adhesin and a receptor of the host cell.
- Production of extracellular enzymes: are specific proteinases and phospholipases of each strain. A family of 10 isoenzymes with proteinase activity known as Sap (secreted aspartic proteinase) have been detected in C. albicans, of which Sap 1-3 are crucial for superficial infection and Sap 4-6 would be important in invasive candidiasis.
- Production of hyphae and pseudohyphae: Increases the invasive capacity of the yeast, the capacity of adherence, increases resistance to phagocytosis, increases the killer power on host cells.
- Switching “or phenotypic and antigenic variability: It is a spontaneous, frequent and reversible change between different phenotypes distinguishable by the morphology of the colony or by cell morphology.
Clinical Forms of Candidiasis
- Large and small folds.
- Nails: Onixis blastomicética.
- Candidiasic granuloma
- Oral mucosa: thrush, glossitis, cheilitis.
- Genital mucosa: vaginitis and balanitis
- Digestive mucosa: esophagitis, gastritis, enteritis and perianal lesions.
- Bronchial mucosa.
- Chronic mucocutaneous candidiasis
- Candidemia: Transient or persistent.
- Localized candidiasis (in different organs).
- Systemic or disseminated candidiasis (Acute and Chronicle)