FEMS Yeast Res. 2010 Aug 1;10(5):570-8. doi: 10.1111/j.1567-1364.2010.00637.x. Epub 2010 Apr 23.
Synergistic anticandidal activity of pure polyphenol curcumin I in combination with azoles and polyenes generates reactive oxygen species leading to apoptosis.
We have shown previously that pure polyphenol curcumin I (CUR-I) shows antifungal activity against Candida species. By employing the chequerboard method, filter disc and time-kill assays, in the present study we demonstrate that CUR-I at non-antifungal concentration interacts synergistically with azoles and polyenes. For this, pure polyphenol CUR-I was tested for synergy with five azole and two polyene drugs – fluconazole (FLC), miconazole, ketoconazole (KTC), itraconazole (ITR), voriconazole (VRC), nystatin (NYS) and amphotericin B (AMB) – against 21 clinical isolates of Candida albicans with reduced antifungal sensitivity, as well as a drug-sensitive laboratory strain. Notably, there was a 10-35-fold drop in the MIC(80) values of the drugs when CUR-I was used in combination with azoles and polyenes, with fractional inhibitory concentration index (FICI) values ranging between 0.09 and 0.5. Interestingly, the synergistic effect of CUR-I with FLC and AMB was associated with the accumulation of reactive oxygen species, which could be reversed by the addition of an antioxidant such as ascorbic acid. Furthermore, the combination of CUR-I and FLC/AMB triggered apoptosis that could also be reversed by ascorbic acid. We provide the first evidence that pure CUR-I in combination with azoles and polyenes represents a novel therapeutic strategy to improve the activity of common antifungals.