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Infect Immun. 1978 Apr;20(1):136-41.

In vitro and in vivo photosensitized inactivation of dermatophyte fungi by heterotricyclic dyes.


The ability of three heterotricyclic dyes to photosensitize dermatophyte fungi was studied with Trichophyton mentagrophytes and Microsporum gypseum. In vitro studies showed that methylene blue, neutral red, and proflavine were capable of killing these fungi when used in conjunction with broad-spectrum light. Proflavine, however, killed both fungi most rapidly and was used for further studies. Fungal killing by proflavine plus light was dependent on dye concentration, pH, light wavelength, and light intensity. Based on the in vitro studies, a treatment regimen was developed for in vivo use on experimentally infected animals. When treatment of guinea pigs inoculated with T. mentagrophytes was begun during fungal invasion, lesion formation at inoculated sites was either prevented or substantially reduced. When treatment was begun after lesion formation, however, light-plus-dyed treated sites showed only slightly faster curing than untreated sites.

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