Role of fungi in neurodegenerative diseases
Thousands of patients with dreadful diseases are treated every year with medicines obtained by fungi. In fact, the medicinal value of fungal metabolites has been known for centuries, however, there has been an unprecedented change in the pattern and the prevalence of mycotic infections in humans due to the opportunistic and pathogenic fungi during the last 15-20 years. The increased use of aggressive and invasive monitoring technologies has resulted in improved survival of patients with life-threatening fungal infections, but it has significantly increased the incidence of invasive fungal infections. Neurodegenerative diseases have debatably become one of the most dreaded diseases of the elder people, which is characterized by the aggregation of the misfolded proteins in the central nervous system. This serves as a common neuropathological hallmark for many neurodegenerative diseases. Recently, an involvement of the fungal proteins, DNA and polysaccharide is found in the generation of neurodegenerative diseases. Some of the commonly found genera are Alternaria, Botrytis, Candida, Malassezia. The aim of this chapter is to review the work done so far on determining the role of fungi in various neurodegenerative diseases and studying potential targets for antimicrobial therapy for neurodenerative diseases. Also, the research in this field will result in discoveries that might help in the development of novel remedies for neurodegenerative disorders.