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Fungi, Molecular Detection

Molecular screening for fungi is used for rapid and highly specific and sensitive detection of fungi from a variety of biological materials.

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Fungi are single-celled and multicellular organisms and include yeasts, molds and mushrooms. They are eukaryotic organisms and their cells contain well-defined membrane-bound organelles and have DNA genomes that contain coding sequences for proteins and non-coding sequences. They are surrounded by a rigid cell wall, making them non-mobile, a difference that distinguishes them from animal organisms. The characteristic constituents of the cell wall are chitin and glucans, mainly α-glucans. They digest food outside the body, releasing digestive enzymes into their environment. These enzymes break down organic matter into a form that the fungus can absorb. Fungi are found almost everywhere in the environment and humans are constantly exposed to these organisms.

The fungi reproduce sexually, sexualy or asexualy. When two fungi breed, their two nuclei do not necessarily fuse, but can coexist until suitable conditions are. Some species of fungi produce bioactive compounds called mycotoxins and are toxic to animals including humans. Many types of fungi are pathogenic and can lead to many diseases in plants, animals and of course in humans. However, fungi are also used as a direct source of food in the production of food, beverages, proteins, detergents and antibiotics.

Fungal infections are often classified as opportunistic and primary. Occasional infections are those that develop primarily in immunosuppressed patients. Primary infections can develop in patients with normal immune function. Fungal infections can be systemic or local. Local fungal infections usually include the skin, mouth and tongue as well as the vagina and can occur in both normal and immunosuppressed patients.

Many opportunistic fungi are usually not pathogenic unless found in immunosuppressed patients. The causes of immunosuppression include AIDS, azotemia, diabetes mellitus, lymphomas and leukemias or other hematological cancers, burns, and treatment with corticosteroids, immunosuppressants or antimetabolites. ICU patients may also be at risk of fungal infections due to medical procedures, underlying disorders or even malnutrition. Typical systemic opportunistic fungi include Candidiasis, Aspergillosis, Mucormycosis, etc.

Primary fungal infections usually result from the inhalation of fungal spores, which can cause a localized pneumonia as the primary manifestation of the infection. In immunosuppressed patients, systemic fungi usually have a chronic course. Scattered fungal infections with pneumonia and septicemia are rare and lung damage is usually slow. It may be months before medical attention is sought or diagnosed. The symptoms are not severe in such chronic fungal infections, but they can occur with fever, chills, night sweats, anorexia, weight loss, discomfort and depression. Various organs can become infected, causing similar symptoms and malfunctions. Primary fungal infections may have a characteristic geographical distribution, particularly for endemic fungi caused by certain types of diphoretic fungi (eg Coccidioidomycosis, Histoplasmosis, Blastomycosis etc.).


Important Note

Laboratory test results are the most important parameter for the diagnosis and monitoring of all pathological conditions. 70%-80% of diagnostic decisions are based on laboratory tests. Correct interpretation of laboratory results allows a doctor to distinguish "healthy" from "diseased".

Laboratory test results should not be interpreted from the numerical result of a single analysis. Test results should be interpreted in relation to each individual case and family history, clinical findings and the results of other laboratory tests and information. Your personal physician should explain the importance of your test results.

At Diagnostiki Athinon we answer any questions you may have about the test you perform in our laboratory and we contact your doctor to get the best possible medical care.

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