Host-pathogen interactions

The attributes of virulence

A. Casadevall, Liise-anne Pirofski

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

229 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Virulence is one of a number of possible outcomes of host-microbe interaction. As such, microbial virulence is dependent on host factors, as exemplified by the pathogenicity of avirulent microbes in immunocompromised hosts and the lack of pathogenicity of virulent pathogens in immune hosts. Pathogen-centered views of virulence assert that pathogens are distinguished from nonpathogens by their expression of virulence factors. Although this concept appears to apply to certain microbes that cause disease in normal hosts, it does not apply to most microbes that cause disease primarily in immunocompromised hosts. The study of virulence is fraught with the paradox that virulence, despite being a microbial characteristic, can only be expressed in asusceptible host. Thus, the question "What is a pathogen?" begs the question, "What is the outcome of thehost-microbe interaction?" We propose that host damage provides a common denominator that translates into the different outcomes of host-microbe interaction.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)337-344
Number of pages8
JournalJournal of Infectious Diseases
Volume184
Issue number3
DOIs
StatePublished - Aug 1 2001

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Host-Pathogen Interactions
Virulence
Immunocompromised Host
Virulence Factors

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health
  • Immunology

Cite this

Host-pathogen interactions : The attributes of virulence. / Casadevall, A.; Pirofski, Liise-anne.

In: Journal of Infectious Diseases, Vol. 184, No. 3, 01.08.2001, p. 337-344.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

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