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      Vulvovaginal Candidiasis: A Current Understanding and Burning Questions


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          Candida albicans, along with other closely related Candida species, are the primary causative agents of vulvovaginal candidiasis (VVC)—a multifactorial infectious disease of the lower female reproductive tract resulting in pathologic inflammation. Unlike other forms of candidiasis, VVC is a disease of immunocompetent and otherwise healthy women, most predominant during their child-bearing years. While VVC is non-lethal, its high global incidence and profound negative impact on quality-of-life necessitates further understanding of the host and fungal factors that drive disease pathogenesis. In this review, we cover the current state of our understanding of the epidemiology, host response, fungal pathogenicity mechanisms, impact of the microbiome, and novel approaches to treatment of this most prevalent human candidal infection. We also offer insight into the latest advancements in the VVC field and identify important questions that still remain.

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          Most cited references136

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          The danger model: a renewed sense of self.

          For over 50 years immunologists have based their thoughts, experiments, and clinical treatments on the idea that the immune system functions by making a distinction between self and nonself. Although this paradigm has often served us well, years of detailed examination have revealed a number of inherent problems. This Viewpoint outlines a model of immunity based on the idea that the immune system is more concerned with entities that do damage than with those that are foreign.
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            Nonfilamentous C. albicans mutants are avirulent.

            Candida albicans and Saccharomyces cerevisiae switch from a yeast to a filamentous form. In Saccharomyces, this switch is controlled by two regulatory proteins, Ste12p and Phd1p. Single-mutant strains, ste12/ste12 or phd1/phd1, are partially defective, whereas the ste12/ste12 phd1/phd1 double mutant is completely defective in filamentous growth and is noninvasive. The equivalent cph1/cph1 efg1/efg1 double mutant in Candida (Cph1p is the Ste12p homolog and Efg1p is the Phd1p homolog) is also defective in filamentous growth, unable to form hyphae or pseudohyphae in response to many stimuli, including serum or macrophages. This Candida cph1/cph1 efg1/efg1 double mutant, locked in the yeast form, is avirulent in a mouse model.
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              Mouse Estrous Cycle Identification Tool and Images

              The efficiency of producing timed pregnant or pseudopregnant mice can be increased by identifying those in proestrus or estrus. Visual observation of the vagina is the quickest method, requires no special equipment, and is best used when only proestrus or estrus stages need to be identified. Strain to strain differences, especially in coat color can make it difficult to determine the stage of the estrous cycle accurately by visual observation. Presented here are a series of images of the vaginal opening at each stage of the estrous cycle for 3 mouse strains of different coat colors: black (C57BL/6J), agouti (CByB6F1/J) and albino (BALB/cByJ). When all 4 stages (proestrus, estrus, metestrus, and diestrus) need to be identified, vaginal cytology is regarded as the most accurate method. An identification tool is presented to aid the user in determining the stage of estrous when using vaginal cytology. These images and descriptions are an excellent resource for learning how to determine the stage of the estrous cycle by visual observation or vaginal cytology.

                Author and article information

                J Fungi (Basel)
                J Fungi (Basel)
                Journal of Fungi
                25 February 2020
                March 2020
                : 6
                : 1
                : 27
                [1 ]Department of Clinical Pharmacy and Translational Science, College of Pharmacy, University of Tennessee Health Science Center, Memphis, TN 38163, USA; hwillems@ 123456uthsc.edu (H.M.E.W.); jliu81@ 123456uthsc.edu (J.L.); zxu43@ 123456uthsc.edu (Z.X.)
                [2 ]School of Food Science and Engineering, South China University of Technology, Guangzhou 510641, China; sahmed22@ 123456uthsc.edu
                Author notes
                © 2020 by the authors.

                Licensee MDPI, Basel, Switzerland. This article is an open access article distributed under the terms and conditions of the Creative Commons Attribution (CC BY) license ( http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/).

                : 22 January 2020
                : 19 February 2020

                vaginitis, vulvovaginal, candida, vagina, vvc, fungal, candidiasis


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