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Int J Med Microbiol. 2005 Jun;295(2):121-7.

Polymorphism of Candida albicans is a major factor in the interaction with human dendritic cells.

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Institute of Hygiene and Microbiology, University of Würzburg, Germany.


Morphological plasticity of Candida albicans is a major virulence factor. Using pH-dependent dimorphism we show, that human dendritic cells (DC) recognize filamentous forms and blastoconidia of a virulent C. albicans isolate (strain SC5314). Heat inactivated and viable blastoconidia are rapidly phagocytosed by human DC. However, viable yeast cells start to filament inside the DC at later stages of infection, leading to penetration and loss of cellular integrity. The cytokine burst of human DC induced upon contact with Candida is dominated by the granulocyte-activating, chemotactic factor IL-8 and the proinflammatory mediator TNF-alpha. Blastoconidia induce markedly lower cytokine levels than filamentous forms. Whereas IL-8 secretion is mainly cell mass dependent, release of TNF-alpha, a major proinflammatory cytokine, is clearly dependent on the morphology of Candida.

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