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Abstract

Purpose. Antifungal resistance and several putative virulence factors have been associated with the pathogenicity of the Candida parapsilosis species complex. The objective of this study was to evaluate the antifungal susceptibility, the production of virulence factors and the pathogenicity of the C. parapsilosis complex.

Methodology. Overall, 49 isolates of C. parapsilosis sensu stricto, 19 C. orthopsilosis and nine C. metapsilosis were used. The planktonic and biofilm susceptibility to fluconazole, itraconazole, voriconazole, amphotericin B and caspofungin was assessed using a broth microdilution assay. Finally, the production of biofilm and hydrolytic enzymes and the fungal pathogenicity against Caenorhabditis elegans were investigated.

Results/Key findings. Overall, one C. orthopsilosis was resistant to caspofungin and susceptible-dose-dependent to itraconazole, the other two C. orthopsilosis were susceptible-dose-dependent to fluconazole and itraconazole, and one C. metapsilosis was susceptible-dose-dependent to azoles. A total of 67.5 % of the isolates were biofilm producers. Amphotericin B and caspofungin caused the greatest reduction in the metabolic activity and biomass of mature biofilms. Phospholipase and protease production was observed in 55.1 % of C. parapsilosis sensu stricto, 42.1 % of C. orthopsilosis and 33.3 % of C. metapsilosis isolates. Moreover, 57.9 % of C. orthopsilosis and 20.4 % of C. parapsilosis sensu stricto isolates were β-haemolytic, and all C. metapsilosis were α-haemolytic. Finally, the C. parapsilosis complex caused high mortality of C. elegans after 96 h of exposure.

Conclusion. These results reinforce the heterogeneity of these cryptic species for their antifungal susceptibility, virulence and pathogenic potential, emphasizing the relevance of monitoring these emerging pathogens.

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2018-05-30
2019-10-21
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