Relevance of different CD4+ T-cell subsets for antifungal defense. What is aberrant in immunocompromised patients?

Lay summary

The incidence of opportunistic fungal infections caused in particular by Aspergillus (A.) fumigatus and Candida species has increased over the last decades occurring particularly in severely immune compromised patients [1, 2]. Despite antifungal prophylaxis or treatment, the therapeutic efficacy is often limited due to impaired host immunity. It is however not clear how fungal-specific immunity influences the individual risk of patients and how this knowledge may be exploited to guide prophylaxis and treatment duration. Within the last two years of the Ambizione-Score grant we (i) identified specific immunological markers that predict development and outcome of fungal infections as well as (ii) developed alternative treatment approaches that could restore or improve fungus-specific immunity for these high-risk patients.


During the follow-up grant our first goal is to evaluate the interaction of pro-inflammatory cytokines (i.e. IFN-γ and GM-CSF) on PMN in fungal infection. This will allow bridging the innate and adaptive immune response in the context of fungal infections.  Secondarily, we will investigate the immune cells infiltrating pulmonary mold lesions in histopathological sections of patients with pulmonary IA. This will allow to pinpoint key players in fungal infections.