Antifungal mechanism of the combination of Cinnamomum verum and Pelargonium graveolens essential oils with fluconazole against pathogenic Candida strains.
Appl Microbiol Biotechnol. 2017 Sep ;101(18):6993-7006. Epub 2017 Aug 1. PMID: 28766033
The present study aimed to investigate the anti-Candida activity of ten essential oils (EOs) and to evaluate their potential synergism with conventional drugs. The effect on secreted aspartic protease (SAP) activity and the mechanism of action were also explored. The antifungal properties of essential oils were investigated using standard micro-broth dilution assay. Only Cinnamomum verum, Thymus capitatus, Syzygium aromaticum, and Pelargonium graveolens exhibited a broad spectrum of activity against a variety of pathogenic Candida strains. Chemical composition of active essential oils was performed by gas chromatography-mass spectrometry (GC-MS). Synergistic effect was observed with the combinations C. verum/fluconazole and P. graveolens/fluconazole, with FIC value 0.37. Investigation of the mechanism of action revealed that C. verum EO reduced the quantity of ergosterol to 83%. A total inhibition was observed for the combination C. verum/fluconazole. However, P. graveolens EO may disturb the permeability barrier of the fungal cell wall. An increase of MIC values of P. graveolens EO and the combination with fluconazole was observed with osmoprotectants (sorbitol and PEG6000). Furthermore, the combination with fluconazole may affect ergosterol biosynthesis and disturb fatty acid homeostasis in C. albicans cells as the quantity of ergosterol and oleic acid was reduced to 52.33 and 72%, respectively. The combination of P. graveolens and C. verum EOs with fluconazole inhibited 78.31 and 64.72% SAP activity, respectively. To our knowledge, this is the first report underlying the mechanism of action and the inhibitory effect of SAP activity of essential oils in synergy with fluconazole. Naturally occurring phytochemicals C. verum and P. graveolens could be effective candidate to enhance the efficacy of fluconazole-based therapy of C. albicans infections.