In vitro interaction between amphotericin B and azoles in Candida albicans

Jose A. Vazquez, Maria T. Arganoza, Julie K. Vaishampayan, Robert A. Akins

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

41 Scopus citations


The use of azole prophylaxis as a measure to prevent invasive fungal infections in high-risk patients is increasing and is now the standard of care in many institutions. Previous studies disagree on whether preexposure of Candida albicans to azoles affects their subsequent susceptibility to amphotericin B (AmB). The present in vitro study indicates that azole exposure generates a subpopulation of cells that are not affected by subsequent exposure to AmB. These cells that are phenotypically resistant to Amb are not stably resistant, but for short periods of exposure, they can tolerate up to 100-fold the level of Amb tolerated by most cells not exposed to azole. The percentage of cells that convert to phenotypic resistance to Amb varies with the concentration and the azole. Itraconazole is more effective than fluconazole in generating cells that are phenotypically resistant to AmB and that tolerate an otherwise lethal transient exposure to AmB. Until cells that are not exposed to fluconazole are simultaneously challenged with AmB, they are not protected to a significant extent from killing by AmB. Cells that are challenged with continuous exposure to AmB also acquire phenotypic resistane to Amb at increased frequencies by azole preexposure, but this requires that the azole be continuously present during incubation with AmB. In addition, Candida cells taken from mature colonies that are not actively growing are not susceptible to the short-term killing effects of Amb without azole preexposure. The adaptive responses of C. albicans to AmB and potentially other antifungal agents that may result from prior exposure to azoles in vitro or potentially in microenvironments in vivo that induce physiological changes may have major clinical implications.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)2511-2516
Number of pages6
JournalAntimicrobial agents and chemotherapy
Issue number11
StatePublished - Nov 1996
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pharmacology
  • Pharmacology (medical)
  • Infectious Diseases


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