|Description:||Magnified 100X, and processed in a NaOH mount, this photomicrograph depicts the histopathologic changes in the structure of a hair follicle, in a patient with ringworm, infected with the dermatophyte, Trichophyton tonsurans. The fact that this infection had invaded the internal structure of the hair shaft, makes this infection an endothrix, rather than an exothrix, which would be confined to the hair’s exterior surface. Note that the hair stub is filled with anthrospores, derived from small segments of the organism’s hyphae.|
What are dermatophytes?
Dermatophytes are types of fungi that cause common skin, hair and nail infections. Infections caused by these fungi are also known by the names “tinea” and “ringworm.” It is important to emphasize that “ringworm” is not caused by a worm, but rather by a type of fungus called a “dermatophyte.” One example of a very common dermatophyte infection is athlete’s foot, which is also called tinea pedis. Another common dermatophyte infection affecting the groin area is jock itch, also known as tinea cruris.