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Cryptococcus neoformans is a leading cause of fungal meningitis in immunocompromized populations. Amphotericin B (AMB) and fluconazole (FLC) are common anticryptococcal agents. AMB treatment leads to severe side-effects. In contrast, FLC-based therapy is relatively safe, although C. neoformans often develops resistance to this drug. C. neoformans must adapt to the challenging environment of the human host. Environmental effects on potency of AMB and FLC and development of drug resistance remain poorly characterized. Here, the effects of nutrients, temperature and antioxidants on susceptibility of C. neoformans towards FLC and AMB were investigated. Limited nutrients led to a decrease and an increase of sensitivity towards FLC and AMB, respectively. Co-treatment with various antioxidants also demonstrated reciprocal effects on susceptibility towards FLC and AMB. In contrast, elevated temperature increased the efficacy of both drugs, although the effect on FLC was more drastic as compared to that of AMB. In addition, temperatures of 37◦C and above prevented development of FLC resistance. Our study pointed to a critical role of the environment on susceptibility towards AMB and FLC and revealed reciprocal effects towards these antifungal drugs, reflecting contrasting modes of action of AMB and FLC.


FEMS Microbiology Letters, Volume 368, Issue 7

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