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Photochem Photobiol. 2011 Mar-Apr;87(2):342-9. doi: 10.1111/j.1751-1097.2011.00886.x. Epub 2011 Feb 10.

Ultraviolet-C light for treatment of Candida albicans burn infection in mice.

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Wellman Center for Photomedicine, Massachusetts General Hospital, Boston, MA, USA.


Burn patients are at high risk of invasive fungal infections, which are a leading cause of morbidity, mortality, and related expense exacerbated by the emergence of drug resistant fungal strains. In this study, we investigated the use of UVC light (254 nm) for the treatment of yeast Candida albicans infection in mouse third degree burns. In vitro studies demonstrated that UVC could selectively kill the pathogenic C. albicans compared with a normal mouse keratinocyte cell line in a light exposure dependent manner. A mouse model of chronic C. albicans infection in non-lethal third degree burns was developed. The C. albicans strain was stably transformed with a version of the Gaussia princeps luciferase gene that allowed real-time bioluminescence imaging of the progression of C. albicans infection. UVC treatment with a single exposure carried out on day 0 (30 min postinfection) gave an average 2.16-log(10)-unit (99.2%) loss of fungal luminescence when 2.92 J cm(-2) UVC had been delivered, while UVC 24 h postinfection gave 1.94-log(10)-unit (95.8%) reduction of fungal luminescence after 6.48 J cm(-2). Statistical analysis demonstrated that UVC treatment carried out on both day 0 and day 1 significantly reduced the fungal bioburden of infected burns. UVC was found to be superior to a topical antifungal drug, nystatin cream. UVC was tested on normal mouse skin and no gross damage was observed 24 h after 6.48 J cm(-2). DNA lesions (cyclobutane pyrimidine dimers) were observed by immunofluorescence in normal mouse skin immediately after a 6.48 J cm(-2) UVC exposure, but the lesions were extensively repaired at 24 h after UVC exposure.

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