Candida species, especially Candida albicans are acquired as mucosal and gastrointestinal tract commensals from the maternal vagina at birth. Delayed type hypersensitivity and the presence of low levels of Candida alblcans become pathogenic under circumstances that alter the anatomic, hormonal, microbial or immunologic milieu.
These fungi colonize mucosal surfaces by attaching to epithelial cells by a presumed polysaccharide (mannan) ligand system. Recent studies indicate that antibody and cell immidiated immunity, phagocytosis and alternative complement pathway play essential role to the protection against Candida albicans. Deficiency of one or both arms of the immune system enhances the Candida infections.
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