The present study describes a synergistic effect between a conventional antifungal drug, caspofungin, and a synthetic peptide derived from human lactoferrin, hLF1-11, against Candida species. These yeasts are able to cause severe systemic fungal infections in immunocompromised hosts.Candida species are the main fungal opportunistic pathogens causing systemic infections that are often associated with drug resistance and biofilm production on medical devices. The pressing need for new antifungal agents led to an increased interest in the use of combination therapies. The present study was aimed at investigating potential synergistic activity of the human lactoferrin-derived hLF1-11 peptide with caspofungin against caspofungin-resistant or -susceptible C. albicans, C. parapsilosis, and C. glabrata strains. Synergism was evaluated by the checkerboard assay, measuring cellular metabolic activity against Candida planktonic and sessile cells. A fractional inhibitory concentration (FIC) index of <= 0.5 was interpreted as synergy. Synergism was evaluated by killing assays on planktonic cells. A cell viability assay was performed with biofilm formation inhibition and preformed biofilm. Synergy for killing and viability assays was defined as a >= 2-log-CFU/mL reduction in comparison with the most active constituent. hLF1-11 and caspofungin exerted (i) synergistic effects against planktonic cells of all the tested strains, yielding drastic caspofungin MIC reduction, (ii) synergistic effects on the inhibition of biofilm formation against biofilm producer strains, yielding caspofungin BIC reduction, and (iii) synergistic effects on preformed biofilm assessed by measuring metabolic activity (FIC range, 0.28 to 0.37) against biofilm-producing strains and by cell viability assay in C. albicans SC5314. The synergistic effect observed between caspofungin and hLF1-11 against Candida spp. is of potential clinical relevance, representing a promising novel approach to target caspofungin-resistant Candida species infections. Further studies elucidating the mechanisms of action of such a synergistic effect are needed. IMPORTANCE The present study describes a synergistic effect between a conventional antifungal drug, caspofungin, and a synthetic peptide derived from human lactoferrin, hLF1-11, against Candida species. These yeasts are able to cause severe systemic fungal infections in immunocompromised hosts. In addition, they can form biofilms in medical implanted devices. Recently, caspofungin-resistant Candida strains have emerged, thus highlighting the need to develop different therapeutic strategies. In in vitro studies, this drug combination is able to restore sensitivity to caspofungin in caspofungin-resistant strains of Candida species, both in free-living cells and in cells organized in biofilms. This synergism could represent a promising novel approach to target infections caused by caspofungin-resistant Candida species.

Synergistic Activity of the Human Lactoferricin-Derived Peptide hLF1-11 in Combination with Caspofungin against Candida Species

Rizzato, Cosmeri;Tavanti, Arianna;Lupetti, Antonella
2022-01-01

Abstract

The present study describes a synergistic effect between a conventional antifungal drug, caspofungin, and a synthetic peptide derived from human lactoferrin, hLF1-11, against Candida species. These yeasts are able to cause severe systemic fungal infections in immunocompromised hosts.Candida species are the main fungal opportunistic pathogens causing systemic infections that are often associated with drug resistance and biofilm production on medical devices. The pressing need for new antifungal agents led to an increased interest in the use of combination therapies. The present study was aimed at investigating potential synergistic activity of the human lactoferrin-derived hLF1-11 peptide with caspofungin against caspofungin-resistant or -susceptible C. albicans, C. parapsilosis, and C. glabrata strains. Synergism was evaluated by the checkerboard assay, measuring cellular metabolic activity against Candida planktonic and sessile cells. A fractional inhibitory concentration (FIC) index of <= 0.5 was interpreted as synergy. Synergism was evaluated by killing assays on planktonic cells. A cell viability assay was performed with biofilm formation inhibition and preformed biofilm. Synergy for killing and viability assays was defined as a >= 2-log-CFU/mL reduction in comparison with the most active constituent. hLF1-11 and caspofungin exerted (i) synergistic effects against planktonic cells of all the tested strains, yielding drastic caspofungin MIC reduction, (ii) synergistic effects on the inhibition of biofilm formation against biofilm producer strains, yielding caspofungin BIC reduction, and (iii) synergistic effects on preformed biofilm assessed by measuring metabolic activity (FIC range, 0.28 to 0.37) against biofilm-producing strains and by cell viability assay in C. albicans SC5314. The synergistic effect observed between caspofungin and hLF1-11 against Candida spp. is of potential clinical relevance, representing a promising novel approach to target caspofungin-resistant Candida species infections. Further studies elucidating the mechanisms of action of such a synergistic effect are needed. IMPORTANCE The present study describes a synergistic effect between a conventional antifungal drug, caspofungin, and a synthetic peptide derived from human lactoferrin, hLF1-11, against Candida species. These yeasts are able to cause severe systemic fungal infections in immunocompromised hosts. In addition, they can form biofilms in medical implanted devices. Recently, caspofungin-resistant Candida strains have emerged, thus highlighting the need to develop different therapeutic strategies. In in vitro studies, this drug combination is able to restore sensitivity to caspofungin in caspofungin-resistant strains of Candida species, both in free-living cells and in cells organized in biofilms. This synergism could represent a promising novel approach to target infections caused by caspofungin-resistant Candida species.
2022
Fais, Roberta; Rizzato, Cosmeri; Franconi, Iacopo; Tavanti, Arianna; Lupetti, Antonella
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Utilizza questo identificativo per citare o creare un link a questo documento: https://hdl.handle.net/11568/1157647
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