In vitro interaction of anidulafungin with voriconazole was tested by a microdilution broth checkerboard technique and an agar diffusion method against 30 Aspergillus clinical isolates belonging to five different species. By using a complete inhibition endpoint, indifferent interactions were observed for 97% of the isolates by the checkerboard technique (FIC index from 0.5 to 2) and for 100% of the isolates by the agar diffusion method (variation of −2 to +1 log2 dilutions).
The in vitro susceptibilities of 66 molecularly identified strains of the Mucorales to eight antifungals (amphotericin B, terbinafine, itraconazole, posaconazole, voriconazole, caspofungin, micafungin, and 5-fluorocytosine) were tested. Molecular phylogeny was reconstructed based on the nuclear ribosomal large subunit to reveal taxon-specific susceptibility profiles. The impressive phylogenetic diversity of the Mucorales was reflected in susceptibilities differing at family, genus, and species levels. Amphotericin B was the most active drug, though somewhat less against Rhizopus and Cunninghamella species. Posaconazole was the second most effective antifungal agent but showed reduced activity in Mucor and Cunninghamella strains, while voriconazole lacked in vitro activity for most strains. Genera attributed to the Mucoraceae exhibited a wide range of MICs for posaconazole, itraconazole, and terbinafine and included resistant strains. Cunninghamella also comprised strains resistant to all azoles tested but was fully susceptible to terbinafine. In contrast, the Lichtheimiaceae completely lacked strains with reduced susceptibility for these antifungals. Syncephalastrum species exhibited susceptibility profiles similar to those of the Lichtheimiaceae. Mucor species were more resistant to azoles than Rhizopus species. Species-specific responses were obtained for terbinafine where only Rhizopus arrhizus and Mucor circinelloides were resistant. Complete or vast resistance was observed for 5-fluorocytosine, caspofungin, and micafungin. Intraspecific variability of in vitro susceptibility was found in all genera tested but was especially high in Mucor and Rhizopus for azoles and terbinafine. Accurate molecular identification of etiologic agents is compulsory to predict therapy outcome. For species of critical genera such as Mucor and Rhizopus, exhibiting high intraspecific variation, susceptibility testing before the onset of therapy is recommended.
We report 20 episodes of infection caused by acquired echinocandin-resistant Candida spp. harboring diverse and new Fksp mutations. For 12 patients, initial isolates (low MIC, wild-type Fksp sequence) and subsequent isolates (after caspofungin treatment, high MIC, mutated Fksp) were genetically related.
caspofungin; echinocandins; FKS mutation; Candida albicans; Candida glabrata; Candida krusei; treatment failure; clinical isolates; genotyping; drug resistance; fungi; France
We report eight cases of airway colonization by Geosmithia argillacea in patients with cystic fibrosis. This filamentous fungus, resembling members of the genera Penicillium and Paecilomyces, was identified by molecular analysis. All patients carried a mutation on each CFTR (cystic fibrosis transmembrane conductance regulator) allele, with at least one copy of the F508del mutation. The first isolation of this fungus occurred from F508del-homozygous patients at a younger age than in F508del-heterozygous patients. Before recovery of G. argillacea, all patients were treated with itraconazole; two of them had also received voriconazole for an Aspergillus fumigatus infection. However, antifungal susceptibility patterns showed high MICs of voriconazole for all isolates, and high MICs of amphotericin B and itraconazole for the majority of them, but mostly low minimum effective concentrations (MECs) of caspofungin. The appearance and persistence of G. argillacea in the airways were not associated with exacerbation of the disease. However, the clinical implications of G. argillacea, particularly in immunocompromised patients, remain a concern, particularly given recent observations suggesting that this fungus may also cause disseminated infections.
The present study was performed to assess the interlaboratory reproducibility of the molecular detection and identification of species of Zygomycetes from formalin-fixed paraffin-embedded kidney and brain tissues obtained from experimentally infected mice. Animals were infected with one of five species (Rhizopus oryzae, Rhizopus microsporus, Lichtheimia corymbifera, Rhizomucor pusillus, and Mucor circinelloides). Samples with 1, 10, or 30 slide cuts of the tissues were prepared from each paraffin block, the sample identities were blinded for analysis, and the samples were mailed to each of seven laboratories for the assessment of sensitivity. A protocol describing the extraction method and the PCR amplification procedure was provided. The internal transcribed spacer 1 (ITS1) region was amplified by PCR with the fungal universal primers ITS1 and ITS2 and sequenced. As negative results were obtained for 93% of the tissue specimens infected by M. circinelloides, the data for this species were excluded from the analysis. Positive PCR results were obtained for 93% (52/56), 89% (50/56), and 27% (15/56) of the samples with 30, 10, and 1 slide cuts, respectively. There were minor differences, depending on the organ tissue, fungal species, and laboratory. Correct species identification was possible for 100% (30 cuts), 98% (10 cuts), and 93% (1 cut) of the cases. With the protocol used in the present study, the interlaboratory reproducibility of ITS sequencing for the identification of major Zygomycetes species from formalin-fixed paraffin-embedded tissues can reach 100%, when enough material is available.
Thirty-eight isolates (including 28 isolates from patients) morphologically identified as Lichtheimia corymbifera (formerly Absidia corymbifera) were studied by sequence analysis (analysis of the internal transcribed spacer [ITS] region of the ribosomal DNA, the D1-D2 region of 28S, and a portion of the elongation factor 1α [EF-1α] gene). Phenotypic characteristics, including morphology, antifungal susceptibility, and carbohydrate assimilation, were also determined. Analysis of the three loci uncovered two well-delimited clades. The maximum sequence similarity values between isolates from both clades were 66, 95, and 93% for the ITS, 28S, and EF-1α loci, respectively, with differences in the lengths of the ITS sequences being detected (763 to 770 bp for isolates of clade 1 versus 841 to 865 bp for isolates of clade 2). Morphologically, the shapes and the sizes of the sporangiospores were significantly different among the isolates from both clades. On the basis of the molecular and morphological data, we considered isolates of clade 2 to belong to a different species named Lichtheimia ramosa because reference strains CBS 269.65 and CBS 270.65 (which initially belonged to Absidia ramosa) clustered within this clade. As neotype A. corymbifera strain CBS 429.75 belongs to clade 1, the name L. corymbifera was conserved for clade 1 isolates. Of note, the amphotericin B MICs were significantly lower for L. ramosa than for L. corymbifera (P < 0.005) but were always ≤0.5 μg/ml for both species. Among the isolates tested, the assimilation of melezitose was positive for 67% of the L. ramosa isolates and negative for all L. corymbifera isolates. In conclusion, this study reveals that two Lichtheimia species are commonly associated with mucormycosis in humans.
The in vitro interaction of antifungals with immunosuppressive drugs was evaluated against zygomycetes. The combination of amphotericin B with cyclosporine, rapamycin, or tacrolimus was synergistic for 90%, 70%, and 30% of the isolates, respectively. For posaconazole, itraconazole, and ravuconazole, synergy was more frequently observed with cyclosporine than with rapamycin or tacrolimus and antagonistic interactions were rarely noted. In summary, calcineurin inhibitors and rapamycin can be synergistic in vitro with amphotericin B and azoles against zygomycetes.
Results were derived from a population-based study using hospital discharge data.
We analyzed hospital records to provide a population-based estimate of zygomycosis incidence and trends over a 10-year period at a national level in France. Data showed an increasing incidence from 0.7/million in 1997 to 1.2/million in 2006 (p<0.001). We compared our data with those from the French Mycosis Study Group, a recently established voluntary network of French mycologists coordinated by the National Reference Center for Mycoses and Antifungals. We documented that incidence of zygomycosis increased, particularly in patients with hematologic malignancies or bone marrow transplants. The role of previous exposure to antifungal drugs lacking activity against zygomycetes could explain this increase but does not appear exclusive. Incidence also increased in the population of patients with diabetes mellitus. We conclude that observed trends reflect a genuine increase of zygomycosis cases in at-risk populations.
Zygomycosis; fungi; immunocompromised; mucormycosis; France; at-risk patients; research
We report the first case of cutaneous mucormycosis after a scorpion sting in Tunisia. Histopathology showed broad aseptate hyphae suggestive of a Zygomycete. Saksenaea vasiformis was identified by PCR amplification and sequencing of the fungal DNA on a cutaneous biopsy. Successful treatment was obtained by surgery and liposomal amphotericin B.
Mutations in two specific regions of the Fks1 subunit of 1,3-β-d-glucan synthase are known to confer decreased caspofungin susceptibility on Candida spp. Clinical isolates of Candida spp. (404 Candida albicans, 62 C. tropicalis, and 21 C. krusei isolates) sent to the French National Reference Center were prospectively screened for susceptibility to caspofungin in vitro by the broth microdilution reference method of the Antifungal Susceptibility Testing Subcommittee of the European Committee on Antibiotic Susceptibility Testing (AFST-EUCAST). Twenty-eight isolates (25 C. albicans, 2 C. tropicalis, and 1 C. krusei isolate) for which the caspofungin MIC was above the MIC that inhibited 90% of the isolates of the corresponding species (MIC90) were subjected to molecular analysis in order to identify mutations in the fks1 gene. Substitutions in the deduced protein sequence of Fks1 were found for 8 isolates, and 20 isolates had the wild-type sequence. Among the six C. albicans isolates harboring mutations, six patterns were observed involving amino acid changes at positions 641, 645, 649, and 1358. For C. tropicalis, one isolate showed an L644W mutation, and for one C. krusei isolate, two mutations, L658W and L701M, were found. Two media, RPMI medium and AM3, were tested for their abilities to distinguish between isolates with wild-type Fks1 and those with mutant Fks1. In RPMI medium, caspofungin MICs ranged from 0.25 to 2 μg/ml for wild-type isolates and from 1 to 8 μg/ml for mutant isolates. A sharper difference was observed in AM3: all wild-type isolates were inhibited by 0.25 μg/ml of caspofungin, while caspofungin MICs for all mutant isolates were ≥0.5 μg/ml. These data demonstrate that clinical isolates of C. albicans, C. tropicalis, and C. krusei with decreased susceptibility to caspofungin in vitro have diverse mutations in the fks1 gene and that AM3 is potentially a better medium than RPMI for distinguishing between mutant and wild-type isolates using the AFST-EUCAST method.
The caspofungin susceptibilities of 28 Candida sp. clinical isolates, including 8 caspofungin-resistant isolates characterized by mutations in the Fks1 protein, were determined by the Etest in RPMI and AM3 media. Good discrimination between wild-type and mutant isolates was obtained. These results suggest that the Etest is valuable for the detection of caspofungin resistance in Candida spp.
Zygomycota; French Guiana; antifungal agents; DNA sequence analysis; letter
The posaconazole MIC90 for 1,903 yeast isolates from France was 1 μg/ml (range, ≤0.015 to 8 μg/ml). Ninety percent of isolates with fluconazole MICs of ≥8 μg/ml (n = 509) and 90% of those with voriconazole MICs of ≥2 μg/ml (n = 80) were inhibited by 2 and 8 μg/ml of posaconazole, respectively.
Identification of Zygomycetes is difficult and time-consuming by standard microbiological procedures. Carbon assimilation profiles are commonly used for yeast-and bacterial-species identification but rarely for filamentous-fungus identification. Carbon assimilation profiles were evaluated using the commercialized kits ID32C and API 50 CH, which contain 31 and 49 tests, respectively, to serve as simple tools for species identification of Zygomycetes in clinical microbiology laboratories. Fifty-seven strains belonging to 15 species and varieties of Zygomycetes, including Rhizopus, Absidia, Mucor, and Rhizomucor species, were tested for intra- and interspecies variability based on their carbon assimilation profiles. Using ID32C strips, 6 tests were always positive, 7 were never positive, and 18 showed consistently different results between species. With API 50 CH strips, 15 tests were positive for all species, 13 were never positive, and 21 showed different results between species. Nevertheless, assimilation patterns were highly variable among Rhizopus oryzae isolates, and it was not possible to define a specific carbon assimilation profile. With both ID32C and API CH 50 strips, intraspecies variation was found to be low, while large differences were found between genera and species. The clustering of isolates based on their carbon assimilation profiles was in accordance with DNA-based phylogeny of Zygomycetes. In conclusion, carbon assimilation profiles allowed precise and accurate identification of most Zygomycetes to the species level.
The combination of flucytosine and amphotericin B was tested against 10 flucytosine-resistant isolates of Cryptococcus neoformans by checkerboard, killing curves, and Etest. Although differences were observed depending on the technique used, antagonism was never observed. The synergistic interaction was related to the mechanism of flucytosine resistance of the isolates.
Black-grain mycetomas are subcutaneous devastating chronic infections due to several dematiaceous fungi. They are diagnosed mostly in tropical countries. Identification of these fungi with standard mycological procedures is difficult because of their poor or delayed sporulation. The aim of this study was thus to assess the accuracy of molecular identification of these fungi. A total of 54 strains, mostly of clinical origin, were used, including 15 Madurella mycetomatis, 6 Madurella grisea, 12 Leptosphaeria senegalensis, 4 Leptosphaeria tompkinsii, 6 Pyrenochaeta spp., 4 Curvularia lunata, and 7 Exophiala jeanselmei strains. The internal transcribed spacer 1 (ITS1)-5.8S-ITS2 DNA region was amplified by using universal fungal primers and sequenced. Both intra- and interspecies sequence similarities were assessed. Madurella mycetomatis appeared to be a homogeneous species. More intraspecies variations were found for C. lunata and E. jeanselmei, leading, in some instances, to changes in the initial identification. L. senegalensis and L. tompkinsii showed intraspecies similarities of >99%, but similarity between the two species was <88%. Intergenera and interspecies variations were important, with sequence homologies of <81% between genera. In contrast, Pyrenochaeta romeroi and M. grisea appeared to be heterogeneous, with intraspecies similarities of 40 to 100% and 53 to 100%, respectively, which suggest either erroneous identification or the need for taxonomic revision. Epidemiological and therapeutic studies could benefit from a precise identification of the fungi responsible for black-grain mycetoma based not only on phenotypical characteristics but also on ITS sequencing.
Mucormycosis is an emerging infection associated with a high mortality rate. Identification of the causative agents remains difficult and time-consuming by standard mycological procedures. In this study, internal transcribed spacer (ITS) sequencing was validated as a reliable technique for identification of Zygomycetes to the species level. Furthermore, species identification directly from infected tissues was evaluated in experimentally infected mice. Fifty-four Zygomycetes strains belonging to 16 species, including the most common pathogenic species of Rhizopus spp., Absidia spp., Mucor spp., and Rhizomucor spp., were used to assess intra- and interspecies variability. Ribosomal DNA including the complete ITS1-5.8S-ITS2 region was amplified with fungal universal primers, sequenced, and compared. Overall, for a given species, sequence similarities between isolates were >98%. In contrast, ITS sequences were very different between species, allowing an accurate identification of Zygomycetes to the species level in most cases. Six species (Rhizopus oryzae, Rhizopus microsporus, Rhizomucor pusillus, Mucor circinelloides, and Mucor indicus) were also used to induce disseminated mucormycosis in mice and to demonstrate that DNA extraction, amplification of fungal DNA, sequencing, and molecular identification were possible directly from frozen tissues.
Whether or not flucytosine should be administered to patients infected with Cryptococcus neoformans isolates found to be resistant to flucytosine in vitro remains a controversial issue. Thus, the efficacy of amphotericin B and flucytosine in combination was investigated by mortality and fungal burden studies in a murine model of disseminated cryptococcosis using two clinical isolates of Cryptococcus neoformans, one susceptible and one resistant (i.e., 64 μg/ml) to flucytosine. Amphotericin B was given intraperitoneally at 0.25 or 0.5 mg/kg/day, while flucytosine was given at 100 or 250 mg/kg/day orally. Treatment was started 24 h or day 6 after inoculation and continued for 5 days in fungal burden and mortality studies, respectively. The combination of amphotericin B at 0.5 mg/kg/day and flucytosine at 250 mg/kg/day was significantly more effective than monotherapies for reducing fungal burden in brain, spleen, and lungs after infection by the flucytosine-susceptible isolate and in brain and spleen for the flucytosine-resistant isolate. For the flucytosine-resistant isolate, the combination of amphotericin B at 0.5 mg/kg/day with flucytosine at 100 mg/kg/day was significantly better than monotherapies for reducing the fungal burden in the brain. Survival obtained after the combination of amphotericin B at 0.5 mg/kg/day and flucytosine at 250 mg/kg/day increased compared to that obtained with monotherapies for both isolates, but the difference was statistically significant only for the flucytosine-susceptible isolate. Antagonism was never observed. This study demonstrates the beneficial effect of the addition of flucytosine to amphotericin B against experimental disseminated cryptococcal infection even when the C. neoformans isolate is resistant to flucytosine.
Microdilution broth checkerboard techniques based on the National Committee for Clinical Laboratory Standards methodology were used to study double and triple antifungal combinations against clinical isolates of Aspergillus fumigatus and A. terreus. The influences of the end-point definition (partial or complete inhibition) and the mode of reading (visually or spectrophotometrically) were determined. Interactions between antifungal drugs were also evaluated by agar diffusion tests. Combinations of caspofungin with either amphotericin B or voriconazole were additive for all the isolates, and antagonism was not observed. The interaction between caspofungin and flucytosine was synergistic for 62% of the isolates. In contrast, the interaction between voriconazole and flucytosine was never synergistic and antagonism was noted for 93% of the isolates. The triple combination of caspofungin with flucytosine and amphotericin B was synergistic for all the isolates tested. The triple combination of caspofungin with flucytosine and voriconazole was also mostly synergistic; but complex interactions were obtained for some isolates, with synergy or antagonism depending on the concentrations of caspofungin and voriconazole. Analysis of the influence of the reading technique on the results showed that spectrophotometric reading was a good alternative to the recommended visual reading. The results of these in vitro tests suggest that the activity of flucytosine as part of a double combination with caspofungin and as part of a triple combination with caspofungin and amphotericin B against Aspergillus spp. warrants further investigations. Animal studies are needed to evaluate the in vivo efficacies of these combinations.
Three isolates of zygomycetes were used to produce a disseminated infection in nonimmunocompromised mice. Against all zygomycete strains, amphotericin B significantly prolonged survival. Itraconazole was inactive against Rhizopus microsporus and Rhizopus oryzae but was partially active against Absidia corymbifera. Posaconazole had no beneficial effects against R. oryzae but showed partial activity against A. corymbifera. Posaconazole had a clear dose-response effect against R. microsporus.
Combinations of flucytosine with conventional and new antifungals were evaluated in vitro against 30 clinical isolates of Cryptococcus neoformans. Synergy determined by checkerboard analysis was observed with combinations of fluconazole, itraconazole, voriconazole, amphotericin B, and caspofungin with flucytosine against 77, 60, 80, 77, and 67% of the isolates, respectively. Antagonism was never observed. Killing curves showed indifferent interactions between triazoles and flucytosine and synergy between amphotericin B and flucytosine.
To develop new approaches for the treatment of invasive infections caused by Scedosporium prolificans, the in vitro interaction between amphotericin B and pentamidine against 30 clinical isolates was evaluated using a checkerboard microdilution method based on the National Committee for Clinical Laboratory Standards M38-P guidelines. The interaction between the drugs was analyzed using fractional inhibitory concentration index (FICI) analysis and response surface modeling. Amphotericin B alone was inactive against all the isolates. The geometric mean MIC for pentamidine was 57 μg/ml (range, 8 to 256 μg/ml; MIC at which 50% of the isolates tested were inhibited [MIC50], 64 μg/ml; MIC90, 128 μg/ml). The combination was synergistic against 28 of 30 isolates (93.3%) by FICI analysis and 30 of 30 (100%) by response surface modeling analysis. Antagonism was not observed.
Three isolates of zygomycetes belonging to three different genera (Rhizopus microsporus, Absidia corymbifera, and Apophysomyces elegans) were used to produce a disseminated infection in nonimmunocompromised mice. The therapeutic efficacy of amphotericin B, given intraperitoneally at doses ranging from 0.5 to 4.5 mg/kg of body weight/day, oral itraconazole at 100 mg/kg/day, and oral terbinafine at 150 mg/kg/day was evaluated in this model. The markers of antifungal efficacy were the median survival time, the mortality rate, and the percentage of infected organs. Organ culture was performed along with microscopic direct examinations of tissues to assess the presence of an active infection. An acute and lethal infection was obtained in untreated mice challenged with each of the three strains. The data obtained for direct examinations and qualitative cultures indicate that, due to the nonseptate nature of the hyphae, each technique gives different information and should be used together with the others. Against all three strains, amphotericin B yielded a 90 to 100% survival rate. Itraconazole was inactive against R. microsporus but significantly reduced mortality in mice infected with A. corymbifera or A. elegans. Terbinafine had no beneficial effects against R. microsporus and A. corymbifera despite documented absorption of the drug. Overall, only limited correlations were observed between MICs determined in vitro and in vivo efficacy of the drugs. The efficacy of itraconazole in these models of zygomycosis suggests that this drug, as well as the new azole compounds presently under development, warrants close evaluation.
Combinations of antimicrobial agents were tested against 35 strains of zygomycetes. The interaction between amphotericin B and rifampin was synergistic or additive. Flucytosine alone was inactive and, upon combination with amphotericin B, synergy was not achieved. The combination of amphotericin B with terbinafine was synergistic for 20% of strains, and the interaction between terbinafine and voriconazole was synergistic for 44% of strains. Antagonism was not observed.