Therapy for candida albicans developed


In a recent study, nanostructured lipid carriers loaded with hypericin and dispersed in hydrogels were effective at managing candida albicans.

Therapy for candida albicans developed | Image Credit: © Yuriy - © Yuriy -

Therapy for candida albicans developed | Image Credit: © Yuriy - © Yuriy -

According to a recent study, conditions caused by candida albicans may be treated through photodynamic therapy (PDT) with nanostructured lipid carriers (NLCs) loaded with hypericin (Hy) and dispersed in hydrogels (HG).

C albicans, an opportunistic polymorphic fungus, causes 77% to 95% of vulvovaginal candidiasis (VVC) cases. VVC is a common condition, making it a global public health concern. The high prevalence of C. albicansis likely because of its adhesion to the mucosal surface in yeast or filamentous which may lead to damage from hydrolytic enzyme production.

Researchers have attempted to find a topical treatment for C. albicans, and PDT has been indicated as a potential method because it achieves microbial photoinactivation through a multi-targeted action mechanism. A non-toxic photosensitizer is critical for this method to be effective.

Hy is a compound which generates reactive oxygen species when exposed to light, but its water-insolubility may limit its use against VVC.NLCs may be used to integrate Hy and other drugs into an imperfect lipid matrix. 

HG, comprised of interconnected macromolecules, are also ideal for drug and nanostructure incorporation because of their biocompatibility, high porosity, and capability of swelling in contact with water. This makes NLCs loaded with Hy and disperse in HG a potential treatment method for C. albicans.

Investigators used dynamic light scattering to assess the hydrodynamic diameter, polydispersity index, and zeta potential of pure NLC particles. The mean roughness values of pure HG and Hy-loaded NLC were reported as 37.4 and 28, respectively. An increased number of pores and diameters within the matrix were observed in NLC dispersed in HG with Hy incorporated.

HG was prepared in a method which involved dispersing 1% of chitosan in a 0.5% acetic acid solution. Stirring lasted for 24 hours and was performed mechanically. A carbon conductive material was used to lyophilize pure HG and Hy.NLC-HG assays.

The mucoadhesiveness of pure HG and Hy.NLC-HG were evaluated using the tensile method with cow vaginal mucosa. Pure HG had a mucoadhesive strength of 0.38 ± 0.04 N, compared to 0.45 ± 0.08 N for Hy.NLC-HG. Syringeability was also evaluated and was significantly increased in Hy.NLC-HG compared to pure HG.

Hydrogel systems in the absence of light were administered to female mice to analyze the antifungal efficacy of HY against vaginal C. albicansin vivo. Immunization toward C. albicans was found in the infected group and was maintained throughout the assay. Vaginal cream as treatment displayed the most significant improvement.

These results indicated efficacy from a PDT-mediated Hy.NLC-HG in treating C. albicans. Investigators concluded this method may be effective in managing conditions caused by C. albicans such as VVC.


Sato MR, Oshiro-Junior JA, Rodero CF, et al.Enhancing antifungal treatment of candida albicans with hypericin-loaded nanostructured lipid carriers in hydrogels: characterization, in vitro, and in vivo photodynamic evaluation. Pharmaceuticals (Basel). 2023;16(8):1094. doi:10.3390/ph16081094

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