Summary of the chapter

Fungi and their pro-inflammatory potential

Alvaro Daschner

Among the possible harmful environmental factors, fungi deserve special consideration. With the appearance of fungi in evolutionary history, other organisms had to develop strategies to recognize them and cope with them. The existing controversies about different clinical features covered by the Dampness and Mold Hypersensitivity Syndrome may be due to the great variability of clinical symptoms, but also due to the possible different triggers associated with mold and moisture. We present an hypothesis in which an evolutionary analysis of the different response patterns observed in the DMHS is able to explain the existing variability of disease patterns.

The classical interpretation of immune responses and symptoms are addressed within the field of pathophysiology. The evolutionary analysis presented searches for the evolutionary causes of the existing broad spectrum of symptoms in DMHS. The individual susceptibility of the immune reactions may confer an exaggerated response, and the exaggerated symptoms are then explained in terms of immunopathology as in the case of IgE-mediated allergy. Other extra-respiratory symptoms, which include neuro-behavioral mechanisms, can be explained by the importance of prevention by avoiding unhealthy environments if one takes into account the lethal capacity of some fungi or metabolites that are postulated to have an important selective pressure towards the selection of all types of defense mechanisms.