The human body harbours a variety of commensal microorganisms, referred as the microbiota, that contribute to physiological processes. Among these microorganisms, fungal species, such as Candida albicans, cause either systemic or local infections when the immune functions of the host are impaired, for example due to antibiotic treatment. About 75% of women worldwide during their lifetime experience at least one vulvovaginal candidiasis (VVC), and around 138 million women report four or more episodes per year, a condition termed recurrent (R)VVC. This research explored the factors from the fungus, the host, and the microbiota that increase susceptibility to RVVC. Overall, we showed that patients with RVVC are characterized by a systemic inflammatory state and that alterations in the components of the local vaginal environment, specifically lactic acid, influence the fungus biology and promote inflammation.
Hence, a finely tuned balance between fungus, host, and microbiota is a prerequisite for preventing infection.
Diletta Rosati (1994) obtained her Master's degree in Molecular Biotechnology, cum laude, at the University of Florence (Italy) in 2018. In 2019 she started with her PhD research as part of the FunHoMic consortium at the Department of Internal Medicine of Radboudumc.