Mucormycosis is an invasive fungal infection characterised by rapid filamentous growth, which leads to angioinvasion, thrombosis, and tissue necrosis. The high mortality rates (50–100%) associated with mucormycosis are reflective of not only the aggressive nature of the infection and the poor therapeutics currently employed, but also the failure of the human immune system to successfully clear the infection. Immune effector interaction with Mucorales is influenced by the developmental stage of the mucormycete spore. In a healthy immune environment, resting spores are resistant to phagocytic killing. Contrarily, swollen spores and hyphae are susceptible to damage and degradation by macrophages and neutrophils. Under the effects of immune suppression, the recruitment and efficacy of macrophage and neutrophil activity against mucormycetes is considerably reduced. Following penetration of the endothelial lining, Mucorales encounter platelets. Platelets adhere to both mucormycete spores and hyphae, and exhibit germination suppression and hyphal damage capacity in vitro. Dendritic cells are activated in response to Mucorales hyphae only, and induce adaptive immunity. It is crucial to further knowledge regarding our immune system’s failure to eradicate resting spores under intact immunity and inhibit fungal growth under immunocompromised conditions, in order to understand mucormycosis pathogenicity and enhance therapeutic strategies for mucormycosis.
This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License
which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.