Synergy, pharmacodynamics, and time-sequenced ultrastructural changes of the interaction between nikkomycin Z and the echinocandin FK463 against Aspergillus fumigatus

C. C. Chiou, N. Mavrogiorgos, E. Tillem, R. Hector, T. J. Walsh

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

We investigated the potential synergy between two cell wall-active agents, the echinocandin FK463 (FK) and the chitin synthase inhibitor nikkomycin Z (NZ), against 16 isolates of filamentous fungi. Susceptibility testing was performed with a broth macrodilution procedure by NCCLS methods. The median minimal effective concentration (MEC) of FK against all Aspergillus species was 0.25 μg/ml (range, 0.05 to 0.5 μg/ml). For Fusarium solani and Rhizopus oryzae, MECs of FK were > 512 μg/ml. The median MEC of NZ against Aspergillus fumigatus was 32 μg/ml (range, 8 to 64 μg/ml), and that against R. oryzae was 0.5 μg/ml (range, 0.06 to 2 μg/ml); however, for the other Aspergillus species, as well as F. solani, MECs were > 512 μg/ml. A checkerboard inhibitory assay demonstrated synergy against A. fumigatus (median fractional inhibitory concentration index = 0.312 [range, 0.15 to 0.475]). The effect was additive to indifferent against R. oryzae and indifferent against other Aspergillus spp. and F. solani. We further investigated the pharmacodynamics of hyphal damage by MTT [3-(4,5-dimethylthiazol-2-yl)-2,5-diphenyltetrazolium bromide] assay and examined the time-sequenced changes in hyphal ultrastructure. Significant synergistic hyphal damage was demonstrated with the combination of NZ (2 to 32 μg/ml) and FK (0.03 to 0.5 μg/ml) over a wide range of concentrations (P < 0.001). The synergistic effect was most pronounced after 12 h of incubation and was sustained through 24 h. Time-sequenced light and electron microscopic studies demonstrated that structural alterations of hyphae were profound, with marked transformation of hyphae to blastospore-like structures, in the presence of FK plus NZ, while fungi treated with a single drug showed partial recovery at 24 h. The methods used in this study may be applicable to elucidating the activity and interaction of other cell wall-active agents. In summary, these two cell wall-targeted antifungal agents, FK and NZ, showed marked time-dependent in vitro synergistic activity against A. fumigatus.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)3310-3321
Number of pages12
JournalAntimicrobial agents and chemotherapy
Volume45
Issue number12
DOIs
StatePublished - 2001

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pharmacology
  • Pharmacology (medical)
  • Infectious Diseases

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