A new study in mice reveals that Candida albicans - a fungus largely perceived as harmless - can cause memory problems and brain abnormalities that resemble those characteristic of Alzheimer's disease.
C. albicans is the most common and best-studied cause of fungal infections in humans.
Candida albicans is a species of fungus that grows naturally in the human gut, mouth, and vagina.
Although the yeast is mostly harmless, it can develop into issues ranging from thrush to more serious infections that reach the blood and other organs.
C. albicans is the most common cause of fungal infections in humans, as well as the most extensively studied fungal pathogen that affects people.
A new study, which appears in the journal Nature Communications, adds to the existing body of knowledge about C. albicans.
The new research shows that the fungus can enter the brain, trigger an inflammatory response, and impair memory in mice.
Importantly, the infection leads to the formation of abnormal structures in the brain, and these share similarities with amyloid plaques - a hallmark of Alzheimer's disease.
Dr. David B. Corry, a professor of medicine-immunology, allergy, and rheumatology at the Baylor College of Medicine in Houston, TX, is the corresponding and final author of the new study