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Antimicrob Agents Chemother. 2012 Aug;56(8):4439-49. doi: 10.1128/AAC.06015-11. Epub 2012 Jun 11.

Experimental central nervous system aspergillosis therapy: efficacy, drug levels and localization, immunohistopathology, and toxicity.

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California Institute for Medical Research, San Jose, California, USA.


We have shown previously that high-dose lipid amphotericin preparations are not more efficacious than lower doses in aspergillosis. We studied toxicity, drug concentrations and localization, and quantitative infection concurrently, using a 4-day model of central nervous system (CNS) aspergillosis to assess early events. Mice given Aspergillus fumigatus conidia intracerebrally, under a cyclophosphamide immunosuppressive regimen, were treated for 3 days (AmBisome at 3 or 10 mg/kg of body weight, Abelcet at 10 mg/kg, amphotericin B deoxycholate at 1 mg/kg, caspofungin at 5 mg/kg, or voriconazole at 40 mg/kg). Sampling 24 h after the last treatment showed that AmBisome at 3 but not at 10 mg/kg, as well as Abelcet, caspofungin, and voriconazole, reduced brain CFU. All regimens reduced renal infection. Minor renal tubular changes occurred with AmBisome or Abelcet therapy, whereas heart, lung, and brain showed no drug toxicity. Amphotericin B tissue and serum concentrations did not correlate with efficacy. Endothelial cell activation (ICAM-1 and P-selectin in cerebral capillaries) occurred during infection. Amphotericin B derived from AmBisome and Abelcet localized in activated endothelium and from Abelcet in intravascular monocytes. In 10-day studies dosing uninfected mice, minor renal tubular changes occurred after AmBisome or Abelcet at 1, 5, or 10 mg/kg with or without cyclophosphamide treatment; nephrosis occurred only with Abelcet in cyclophosphamide-treated mice. Hepatotoxicity occurred with AmBisome and Abelcet but was reduced in cyclophosphamide-treated mice. Marked CFU reduction by AmBisome at 3 mg/kg occurred in association with relatively more intense inflammation. Abelcet renal localization appears to be a precursor to late nephrotoxicity. Hepatotoxicity may contribute to high-dose Abelcet and AmBisome failures. Our novel observation of endothelial amphotericin localization during infection may contribute to amphotericin mechanism of efficacy.

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