Department of Ecology, Institute for Biological Research "Sinisa Stankovic", University of Belgrade, 142, Bulevar despota Stefana, 11060 Belgrade, Serbia; Institute of Physiology and Biochemistry, Faculty of Biology, University of Belgrade, 16, Studentski trg, 11000 Belgrade, Serbia. Electronic address: [Email]
Aspergillosis represents a spectrum of fungal diseases which are caused by fungi of the genus Aspergillus. Animal models have been developed and used to address immune-based mechanisms of defense against these fungi. Invertebrate models enabled mass screening of virulence attributes of Aspergillus species as well as mechanisms of acquired resistance to antifungal agents. This review represents a concise view of cellular and humoral participants in an immune response to Aspergillus gained mostly from rodent models of aspergillosis. The survey of immune defense mechanisms was given, including the role of innate immune cells (macrophages, neutrophils, monocytes, eosinophils, innate-like lymphocytes) and receptors in antifungal response, the significance of dendritic cells in activation of specific adaptive T cell-mediated immune responses and the regulatory mechanisms of excessive response. Insight into innate immune defense mechanisms gained using non-vertebrate models of infections with Aspergillus sp. was given as well. The contribution of animal models to the current knowledge of immune mechanisms of resistance or susceptibility to these fungi was stressed and the significance of data gained from these models in forming the basis for the design of therapeutic strategies in prevention and/or treatment of aspergillosis was pointed out.