Send to

Choose Destination
Clin Microbiol Rev. 2002 Jan;15(1):21-57.

Immunology of diseases associated with Malassezia species.

Author information

Mycology Reference Centre, Division of Microbiology, University of Leeds and Leeds General Infirmary, Leeds, United Kingdom.


Malassezia species are members of the human cutaneous commensal flora, in addition to causing a wide range of cutaneous and systemic diseases in suitably predisposed individuals. Studies examining cellular and humoral immune responses specific to Malassezia species in patients with Malassezia-associated diseases and healthy controls have generally been unable to define significant differences in their immune response. The use of varied antigenic preparations and strains from different Malassezia classifications may partly be responsible for this, although these problems can now be overcome by using techniques based on recent work defining some important antigens and also a new taxonomy for the genus. The finding that the genus Malassezia is immunomodulatory is important in understanding its ability to cause disease. Stimulation of the reticuloendothelial system and activation of the complement cascade contrasts with its ability to suppress cytokine release and downregulate phagocytic uptake and killing. The lipid-rich layer around the yeast appears to be pivotal in this alteration of phenotype. Defining the nonspecific immune response to Malassezia species and the way in which the organisms modulate it may well be the key to understanding how Malassezia species can exist as both commensals and pathogens.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]
Free PMC Article

Supplemental Content

Full text links

Icon for HighWire Icon for PubMed Central
Loading ...
Support Center