Candida tropicalis- An Overview


Candida tropicalis is a species of yeast that belongs to the genus Candida. It is a common fungal pathogen that can cause infections in humans, especially in those with weakened immune systems.

Candida tropicalis is closely related to Candida albicans, the most prevalent Candida species, and shares many features of pathogenicity and clinical presentation. However, C. tropicalis has some distinctive characteristics that make it a significant cause of morbidity and mortality worldwide.

Candida tropicalis can cause superficial and mucosal infections, such as oral thrush, vulvovaginal candidiasis, and skin and nail infections. It can also cause invasive and systemic infections, such as candidemia, disseminated candidiasis, and chronic disseminated candidiasis. These infections can affect various organs and tissues, such as the blood, heart, brain, liver, spleen, kidney, eye, bone, and joint.

Candida tropicalis is one of the most common causes of candidemia, which is the presence of Candida in the bloodstream. Candidemia is a serious and life-threatening condition that requires prompt diagnosis and treatment. Candidemia can lead to sepsis, organ failure, and death.

Candida tropicalis has several virulence factors that enable it to colonize and infect the human host. These include:

  • The ability to form blastoconidia (single-celled spores) that are resistant to environmental stress and can adhere to host cells and surfaces.
  • The ability to form pseudohyphae (elongated cells) and true hyphae (filamentous cells) that can penetrate host tissues and evade immune responses.
  • The ability to produce biofilms (communities of cells embedded in a matrix) that can adhere to medical devices and resist antifungal drugs.
  • The ability to secrete enzymes (such as proteases, phospholipases, and hemolysins) that can degrade host tissues and facilitate invasion.
  • The ability to switch phenotypes (different forms of appearance) that can adapt to different environmental conditions and evade immune recognition.

Candida tropicalis is also known for its antifungal resistance. It has developed resistance to some of the commonly used antifungal drugs, such as fluconazole, which is a member of the azole class of drugs. Fluconazole resistance can limit the treatment options and increase the mortality rate of C. tropicalis infections. Therefore, new antifungal drugs and strategies are needed to combat this emerging threat.

Candida tropicalis is not only a human pathogen but also an environmental organism. It can be found in various natural habitats, such as seawater, marine sediments, fish intestines, mangrove plants, algae, shrimps, soil, fruit surfaces, and foods. It can also be used for biotechnological purposes, such as bioethanol production and bioremediation.

In this article, we will provide an overview of C. tropicalis based on basic and clinical approaches. We will discuss its habitat, morphology, culture characteristics, pathogenesis, transmission, virulence factors, clinical features, laboratory diagnosis, treatment, antifungal resistance, prevention and control.