Journal Article

The non-mammalian host <i>Galleria mellonella</i> can be used to study the virulence of the fungal pathogen <i>Candida tropicalis</i> and the efficacy of antifungal drugs during infection by this pathogenic yeast

Ana Cecilia Mesa-Arango, Agustina Forastiero, Leticia Bernal-Martínez, Manuel Cuenca-Estrella, Emilia Mellado and Oscar Zaragoza

in Medical Mycology

Published on behalf of International Society for Human and Animal Mycology

Volume 51, issue 5, pages 461-472
Published in print July 2013 | ISSN: 1369-3786
Published online July 2013 | e-ISSN: 1460-2709 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.3109/13693786.2012.737031
The non-mammalian host Galleria mellonella can be used to study the virulence of the fungal pathogen Candida tropicalis and the efficacy of antifungal drugs during infection by this pathogenic yeast

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Abstract

Although Candida tropicalis is a frequent cause of invasive fungal diseases, its interaction with the host remains poorly studied. Galleria mellonella is a Lepidoptera model which offers a useful tool to study virulence of different microorganisms and drug efficacy. In this work we investigated the virulence of C. tropicalis in G. mellonella at different temperatures and the efficacy of antifungal drugs in this infection model. When larvae were infected with yeast inocula suspensions of different concentrations (4 × 106, 2 × 106, 106 and 5 × 105 cells/larva), we observed a dose-dependent effect on the killing of the insect (50% survival ranging from 1.4 ± 0.8 to 8.8 ± 1.2 days with the higher and lower inocula, respectively). Candida tropicalis killed G. mellonella larvae at both 30°C and 37°C, although at 37°C the virulence was more evident. Haemocytes phagocytosed C. tropicalis cells after 2 hours of infection, although the phagocytosis rate was lower when compared with other fungal pathogens, such as Cryptococcus neoformans. Moreover, the haemocyte density in the haemolymph decreased during infection and the yeast formed pseudohyphae in G. mellonella. The efficacy of amphotericin B, caspofungin, fluconazole and voriconazole was tested at different concentrations, and a protective effect was observed with all the drugs at concentrations equivalent to therapeutic dose. Fungal burden increased in infected larvae during time of infection and amphotericin B and fluconazole reduced the number of colony-forming units in the worms. Moreover, antifungal treatment was associated with the presence of cell aggregates around infected areas. We conclude that G. mellonella offers a simple and feasible model to study C. tropicalis virulence and drug efficacy.

Keywords: Candida tropicalis; Galleria mellonella; phagocytosis; antifungal drugs; virulence

Journal Article.  5190 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Mycology and Fungi ; Infectious Diseases ; Medical Toxicology ; Veterinary Medicine ; Environmental Science

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