PloS one 2016 6 1711(6) e0157242 doi 10.1371/journal.pone.0157242
Fungal infections, especially those caused by antibiotic resistant pathogens, have become a serious public health problem due to the growing number of immunocompromised patients, including those subjected to anticancer treatment or suffering from HIV infection. In this study we assessed fungicidal activity of the ceragenins CSA-13, CSA-131 and CSA-192 against four fluconazole-resistant Candida strains. We found that ceragenins activity against planktonic Candida cells was higher than activity of human LL-37 peptide and synthetic cationic peptide omiganan. Compared to LL-37 peptide, ceragenins in the presence of DNase I demonstrated an increased ability to kill DNA-induced Candida biofilm. Microscopy studies show that treatment with LL-37 or ceragenins causes Candida cells to undergo extensive surface changes indicating surface membrane damage. This conclusion was substantiated by observation of rapid incorporation of FITC-labeled CSA-13, CSA-131 or LL-37 peptide into the more lipophilic environment of the Candida membrane. In addition to activity against Candida spp., ceragenins CSA-131 and CSA-192 display strong fungicidal activity against sixteen clinical isolates including Cryptococcus neoformans and Aspergillus fumigatus. These results indicate the potential of ceragenins for future development as new fungicidal agents.