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Mycoses. 2007 May;50(3):172-7.

Absent reduction by HIV protease inhibitors of Candida albicans adhesion to endothelial cells.

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Department for Hygiene, Microbiology and Social Medicine, Innsbruck Medical University, Innsbruck and Ludwig Boltzmann Institute for AIDS Research, Innsbruck, Austria.


Highly active antiretroviral therapy including HIV protease inhibitors has led to a marked reduction of clinically relevant mucosal candidiasis. We have previously shown that HIV protease inhibitors directly inhibit adhesion of Candida albicans to epithelial cells at concentrations that are reached in vivo during antiretroviral therapy. The aim of this study was to establish whether HIV protease inhibitors also inhibit adhesion of Candida to endothelial cells, which play a major role in systemic fungal disease. Three C. albicans strains were incubated with human umbilical vein endothelial cells or an endothelial cell line in the presence of either Ritonavir, Saquinavir or Indinavir. Subsequently, adherence was determined by counting colony-forming units. The results were comparable and revealed that Ritonavir and Saquinavir significantly inhibited adherence to endothelial cells at only very high concentrations which are likely not reached in vivo, and Indinavir did not even inhibit then. Inhibition of adhesion of C. albicans to human cells by HIV protease inhibitors is not a general feature, but strongly cell type-dependent, and clearly not observed for endothelial cells in vitro, which are a main target of systemic candidiasis in vivo.

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