J. Fungi2015, 1(2), 185-210; doi:10.3390/jof1020185 (registering DOI) - published 28 August 2015 Show/Hide Abstract
Abstract: Extracellular enzymes degrade macromolecules into soluble substrates and are important for nutrient cycling in soils, where microorganisms, such as ectomycorrhizal (ECM) fungi, produce these enzymes to obtain nutrients. Ecotones between forests and fields represent intriguing arenas for examining the effect of the environment on ECM community structure and enzyme activity because tree maturity, ECM composition, and environmental variables may all be changing simultaneously. We studied the composition and enzymatic activity of ECM associated with loblolly pine (Pinus taeda) across an ecotone between a forest where P. taeda is established and an old field where P. taeda saplings had been growing for <5 years. ECM community and environmental characteristics influenced enzyme activity in the field, indicating that controls on enzyme activity may be intricately linked to the ECM community, but this was not true in the forest. Members of the Russulaceae were associated with increased phenol oxidase activity and decreased peroxidase activity in the field. Members of the Atheliaceae were particularly susceptible to changes in their abiotic environment, but this did not mediate differences in enzyme activity. These results emphasize the complex nature of factors that dictate the distribution of ECM and activity of their enzymes across a habitat boundary.
J. Fungi2015, 1(2), 173-184; doi:10.3390/jof1020173 - published 19 August 2015 Show/Hide Abstract
Abstract: Onychomycosis is a fungal infection of the toenails or fingernails that can involve any component of the nail unit, including the matrix, bed, and plate. It is a common disorder that may be a reservoir for infection resulting in significant medical problems. Moreover, onychomycosis can have a substantial influence on one’s quality of life. An understanding of the disorder and updated management is important for all health care professionals. Aside from reducing quality of life, sequelae of the disease may include pain and disfigurement, possibly leading to more serious physical and occupational limitations. Dermatologists, Podiatrists, and other clinicians who treat onychomycosis are now entering a new era when considering treatment options—topical modalities are proving more effective than those of the past. The once sought after concept of viable, effective, well-tolerated, and still easy-to-use monotherapy alternatives to oral therapy treatments for onychomycosis is now within reach given recent study data. In addition, these therapies may also find a role in combination and maintenance therapy; in order to treat the entire disease the practitioner needs to optimize these topical agents as sustained therapy after initial clearance to reduce recurrence or re-infection given the nature of the disease.
J. Fungi2015, 1(2), 168-172; doi:10.3390/jof1020168 - published 10 August 2015 Show/Hide Abstract
Abstract: The scope of this special issue is to understand whether and how mycorrhizal symbiosis can be included as an agriculture and agroforestry tool that promotes more environmentally friendly practices, and whether it promotes the protection of sensitive areas. Three papers are included in this special issue, each dealing with a different sensitive environment. These papers present fundamental aspects that should be taken into account when planning or reporting studies related to mycorrhizal fungi in sensitive environments.
J. Fungi2015, 1(2), 154-167; doi:10.3390/jof1020154 - published 29 July 2015 Show/Hide Abstract
Abstract: The two etiologic agents of cryptococcal meningoencephalitis, Cryptococcus neoformans and C. gattii, have been commonly designated as either an opportunistic pathogen for the first species or as a primary pathogen for the second species. Such a distinction has been based on epidemiological findings that the majority of patients presenting meningoencephalitis caused by C. neoformans are immunocompromised while C. gattii infection has been reported more often in immunocompetent patients. A recent report, however, showed that GM-CSF (granulocyte-macrophage colony-stimulating factor) neutralizing antibodies were prevalent in the plasma of “apparently immunocompetent” C. gattii patients with meningoencephalitis. Because GM-CSF is essential for differentiation of monocytes to macrophages and modulating the immune response, it is not surprising that the lack of GM-CSF function predisposes otherwise healthy individuals to infection via inhalation of environmental pathogens such as C. gattii. Since the test for anti-GM-CSF autoantibodies is not included in routine immunological profiling at most hospitals, healthy patients with GM-CSF neutralizing antibodies are usually categorized as immunocompetent. It is likely that a comprehensive immunological evaluation of patients with C. gattii meningoencephalitis, who had been diagnosed as immunocompetent, would reveal a majority of them had hidden immune dysfunction. This paper reviews the relationship between GM-CSF neutralizing antibodies and the risk for C. gattii infection with CNS involvement.
J. Fungi2015, 1(2), 138-153; doi:10.3390/jof1020138 - published 27 July 2015 Show/Hide Abstract
Abstract: Onychomycosis is predominantly caused by the dermatophytes Trichophyton rubrum, Trichophyton mentagrophytes and Trichophyton tonsurans. The main treatment obstacle concerns low nail-plate drug permeability. In vitro antifungal photodynamic treatment (PDT) and nail penetration enhancing effectiveness have been proven for multifunctional photosensitizer 5,10,15-tris(4-N-methylpyridinium)-20-(4-(butyramido-methylcysteinyl)-hydroxyphenyl)-[21H,23H]-porphine trichloride (PORTHE). This study investigates single PORTHE green laser/LED PDT of varying degrees of ex vivo onychomycoses in a human nail model. T. mentagrophytes, T. rubrum, T. tonsurans onychomycoses were ex vivo induced on nail pieces at 28 °C (normal air) and 37 °C (6.4% CO2) during 3 to 35 days and PDTs applied to the 37 °C infections. All dermatophytes showed increasingly nail plate invasion at 37 °C between 7 and 35 days; arthroconidia were observed after 35 days for T. mentagrophytes and T. tonsurans. Using 81 J/cm2 (532 nm) 7-day T. mentagrophytes onychomycoses were cured (92%) with 80 µM PORTHE (pH 8) after 24 h propylene glycol (PG, 40%) pre-treatment and 35-day onychomycoses (52%–67%) with 24 h PORTHE (40–80 µM)/40% PG treatment (pH 5). 28 J/cm2 LED light (525 ± 37 nm) improved cure rates to 72%, 83% and 73% for, respectively, T. mentagrophytus, T. rubrum and T. tonsurans 35-day onychomycoses and to 100% after double PDT. Data indicate PDT relevance for onychomycosis.
J. Fungi2015, 1(2), 130-137; doi:10.3390/jof1020130 - published 17 July 2015 Show/Hide Abstract
Abstract: Manifestations of Trichophyton rubrum infestations, such as tinea pedis, tinea cruris, and tinea corporis, are among the most common human skin diseases seen throughout the world. About 80% of patients presenting with acute dermatophytosis respond well to topical antifungal treatment. However, the remaining 20% of patients progress into a chronic state of dermatophytosis, which is resistant to antifungal treatment. Therefore, it is necessary to have a better understanding and appreciation for the diverse immune responses to Trichophyton as this is critical for the development of therapeutic strategies for those individuals who suffer from a chronic manifestation of Trichophyton rubrum (T. rubrum) infection. As a result, a comprehensive literature review was conducted to review and discuss previous studies that evaluated the human body’s defense to T. rubrum infections and to understand why and how these fungal infections invade the host defense system. Our research revealed that a cell-mediated immune response is critical in defending the body against T. rubrum. However, this organism has mechanisms that enable it to evade the immune system. Therefore, a more successful treatment for chronic T. rubrum infection would involve targeting the mechanisms of T. rubrum that diminish the immune response, while restoring the cell-mediated immune response.