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Mycoses. 2010 Jul;53(4):344-9. doi: 10.1111/j.1439-0507.2009.01713.x. Epub 2009 May 27.

Distribution of Malassezia species in seborrhoeic dermatitis: correlation with patients' cellular immune status.

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Department of Dermatology, University Clinical Center, Sarajevo, Bosnia and Herzegovina.


Malassezia species are implicated in the pathogenesis of seborrhoeic dermatitis (SD), but the relationship between each species and the disorder remains unclear. It is hypothesised that the pathogenesis of SD has an immune component, which is supported by the increased incidence in patients with immunosuppressive disorders. The purpose of our study was to analyse the prevalence of Malassezia species in lesional skin of SD, and to assess the distribution of the species according to severity of the disease and cellular immune status of the patients. Forty SD patients with scalp involvement were included in the study. The samples were obtained by scraping the skin surface of the scalp and then incubated on Sabouraud dextrose agar and modified Dixon agar. The yeasts isolated were identified by their morphological and physiological properties according to the method of Guillot et al. In addition, we performed two-colour flow cytometry analysis to investigate the lymphocyte subpopulations in the peripheral blood. The most commonly isolated species was Malassezia restricta (27.5%), followed by Malassezia globosa (17.5%) and Malassezia slooffiae (15%). We demonstrated low helper/suppressor ratios in 70% patients, because of an increase in the suppressor T-cell population, suggesting an impaired cellular immunity. However, we found no significant difference in the distribution of isolated Malassezia species according to the severity of the scalp involvement and changes in the peripheral blood lymphocyte subpopulations.

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