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ABSTRACT

Cutaneous and mucocutaneous Candida infections are considered to be important targets for antimicrobial photodynamic therapy (PDT). Clinical application of antimicrobial PDT will require strategies that enhance microbial killing while minimizing damage to host tissue. Increasing the sensitivity of infectious agents to PDT will help achieve this goal. Our previous studies demonstrated that raising the level of oxidative stress in Candida by interfering with fungal respiration increased the efficiency of PDT. Therefore, we sought to identify compounds in clinical use that would augment the oxidative stress caused by PDT by contributing to reactive oxygen species (ROS) formation themselves. Based on the ability of the antifungal miconazole to induce ROS in Candida, we tested several azole antifungals for their ability to augment PDT in vitro. Although miconazole and ketoconazole both stimulated ROS production in Candida albicans, only miconazole enhanced the killing of C. albicans and induced prolonged fungistasis in organisms that survived PDT using the porphyrin TMP-1363 and the phenothiazine methylene blue as photosensitizers. The data suggest that miconazole could be used to increase the efficacy of PDT against C. albicans, and its mechanism of action is likely to be multifactorial.