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Print version ISSN 0123-9392


URAN, Martha Eugenia  and  CANO, Luz Elena. Melanin: implications in some disease pathogenesis and its capacity to evade the host immune response. Infect. [online]. 2008, vol.12, n.2, pp.128-148. ISSN 0123-9392.

Melanin is one of the common pigments in nature; it is responsible for pigmentation in plants and animals. It is found in skin, eyes, feathers, egg shell, hair, insect cuticle, cuttlefish ink and wall and/or cytoplasm from many microorganisms. Melanin in humans is also present in substantia nigra and hepatocytes. Some microorganisms that have been reported producing melanin are: Vibrio cholerae, Mycobacterium leprae, Bacillus thurigiensis, Pseudomonas aeruginosa, Schistosoma mansoni, Fasciola gigantita, Trichuris suis, Alternaria alternata, Aspergillus niger, Blastomyces dermatitidis, Candida albicans, Cladosporium carionii, Coccidioides immitis, Cryptococcus neoformans, Exophiala (Wangiella) dermatitidis, Fonsecaea pedrosoi, Histoplasma capsulatum, Paracoccidioides brasiliensis, Penicillium marneffei, Pneumocystis carinii (jirovecii), Scedosporium prolificans, Scytalidium dimidiatum, Sporothrix schenckii, and most of the dematiaceous fungi. This review is focused on recent international publications concerning melanin analysing its capacity to survive in nature and during infection inside the host and its evasion of the immune response. Melanin acts as an inmunomodulador particle and it is known that its presence in many of microorganisms could protect them from microbicidal agents presently used.

Keywords : melanin; virulence factors; immune response; complement; phagocitoses; oxidative stress; apoptosis; cytokines; antibodies; antifungals.

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