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Infect Immun. 1985 Sep;49(3):654-63.

Ecology of Candida albicans gut colonization: inhibition of Candida adhesion, colonization, and dissemination from the gastrointestinal tract by bacterial antagonism.


Antibiotic-treated and untreated Syrian hamsters were inoculated intragastrically with Candida albicans to determine whether C. albicans could opportunistically colonize the gastrointestinal tract and disseminate to visceral organs. Antibiotic treatment decreased the total population levels of the indigenous bacterial flora and predisposed hamsters to gastrointestinal overgrowth and subsequent systemic dissemination by C. albicans in 86% of the animals. Both control hamsters not given antibiotics and antibiotic-treated animals reconventionalized with an indigenous microflora showed significantly lower gut populations of C. albicans, and C. albicans organisms were cultured from the visceral organs of 0 and 10% of the animals, respectively. Conversely, non-antibiotic-treated hamsters inoculated repeatedly with C. albicans had high numbers of C. albicans in the gut, and viable C. albicans was recovered from the visceral organs of 53% of the animals. Examination of the mucosal surfaces from test and control animals indicated further that animals which contained a complex indigenous microflora had significantly lower numbers of C. albicans associated with their gut walls than did antibiotic-treated animals. The ability of C. albicans to associate with intestinal mucosal surfaces also was tested by an in vitro adhesion assay. The results indicate that the indigenous microflora reduced the mucosal association of C. albicans by forming a dense layer of bacteria in the mucus gel, out-competing yeast cells for adhesion sites, and producing inhibitor substances (possibly volatile fatty acids, secondary bile acids, or both) that reduced C. albicans adhesion. It is suggested, therefore, that the indigenous intestinal microflora suppresses C. albicans colonization and dissemination from the gut by inhibiting Candida-mucosal association and reducing C. albicans population levels in the gut.

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