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Med Mycol. 2002 Apr;40(2):123-9.

Influence of sub-inhibitory concentrations of conventional antifungals on metabolism of Candida albicans and on its adherence to polystyrene and extracellular matrix proteins.

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Laboratoire de Parasitologie et Mycologie M├ędicales, Centre Hospitalier Universitaire La Mil├ętrie, Poitiers, France.


Five antifungal agents with different mechanisms of action were compared for their ability to affect mitochondrial dehydrogenase activity and adherence capacity of Candida albicans to polystyrene and extracellular matrix proteins. Only amphotericin B inhibited mitochondrial dehydrogenase activity when the culture medium was supplemented with galactose. 5-Fluorocytosine and terbinafine did not affect this activity, whereas itraconazole and fluconazole improved it. Furthermore, in these experimental conditions, the effect of sub-inhibitory concentrations of antifungals on adherence was dependent on the tested antifungal and the adherence surface: amphotericin B inhibited adherence to polystyrene and fibrinogen, but improved adherence to extracellular matrix. For all surfaces tested, when culture medium was supplemented with galactose, fluorocytosine did not affect adherence, and itraconazole, fluconazole and terbinafine inhibited adherence. Our results also confirmed the influence of the carbohydrates: sub-minimum inhibitory concentrations (MIC) of itraconazole increased or did not modify the mitochondrial metabolism of yeasts when the culture medium was supplemented with galactose, but this antifungal always decreased mitochondrial metabolism when the culture medium was supplemented with glucose. These data indicate that antifungals used below their MIC values can have various effects. It is important to distinguish the effects of antifungals on the metabolism of C. albicans from effects on its adherence capacity. The former effects are linked to the viability of the yeast and the latter depends on the colonization of cellular as opposed to inert surfaces.

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