Three developed proven invasive mucormycosis (IM), 17 had infections of known origin but other than IM, and 8 never had fever during the period of observation. Mucorales-specific T cells could be detected only in patients with IM, both at diagnosis and throughout the entire course of the IM, but neither before nor for long after resolution of the infection.
Such T cells predominantly produced IL-4, IFN-γ, IL-10, and to a lesser extent IL-17 and belonged to either CD4(+) or CD8(+) subsets.
The specific T cells that produced IFN-γ were able to directly induce damage to Mucorales hyphae.
None of the 25 patients without IM had Mucorales-specific T cells.
Specific T cells contribute to human immune responses against fungi of the order Mucorales and could be evaluated as a surrogate diagnostic marker of IM.