Candida albicans is the most common opportunistic fungal pathogen of humans, causing systemic disease in immunocompromised patients. Host resistance to C. albicans infections is mediated predominantly by neutrophils and monocytes/macrophages. We have previously shown that exposure of a human epithelial cell line (HEp2) to C. albicans or to a culture filtrate of C. albicans caused actin rearrangement in the HEp2 cells. Since shifting of actin from the filamentous to the globular form may be crucial to the activity of phagocytes, we assessed in the present study the effect of the C. albicans metabolite (lyophilized culture filtrate) on the cytoskeleton of murine peritoneal macrophages and on their phagocytic activity. Our results showed a significant decrease in phagocytosis of C. albicans, ranging from 53-63% and a 25% reduction for C. glabrata cells. Using confocal laser scanning microscopy an actin rearrangement in the macrophages could be demonstrated that may be associated with the decrease of phagocytosis. We also tested the effect of mannan and of the secreted aspartic proteinase (Sap) inhibitor--pepstatin, on the activity of the metabolite in order to define the putative component and found no influence. In conclusion, our data indicate that a C. albicans metabolite affects phagocytic activity of macrophages, probably by alterations in their cytoskeleton.