Candida albicans

Candida albicans is a diploid fungus that grows both as yeast and filamentous cells and a causal agent of opportunistic oral and genital infections in humans.

Systemic fungal infections (fungemias) including those by C. albicans have emerged as important causes of morbidity and mortality in immunocompromised patients (e.g., AIDS, cancer chemotherapy, organ or bone marrow transplantation).

C. albicans biofilms may form on the surface of implantable medical devices. In addition, hospital-acquired infections by C. albicans have become a cause of major health concerns.

C. albicans is commensal and a constituent of the normal gut flora comprising microorganisms that live in the human mouth and gastrointestinal tract.

C. albicans lives in 80% of the human population without causing harmful effects, although overgrowth of the fungus results in candidiasis (candidosis).

Candidiasis is often observed in immunocompromised individuals such as HIV-infected patients. A common form of candidiasis restricted to the mucosal membranes in mouth or vagina is thrush, which is usually easily cured in people who are not immunocompromised. For example, higher prevalence of colonization of C. albicans was reported in young individuals with tongue piercing, in comparison to non-tongue-pierced matched individuals.

To infect host tissue, the usual unicellular yeast-like form of C. albicans reacts to environmental cues and switches into an invasive, multicellular filamentous form, a phenomenon called dimorphism.

 

Candida albicans

Candida albicans

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