The Antifungal Activity of Lactoferrin and Its Derived Peptides: Mechanisms of Action and Synergy with Drugs against Fungal Pathogens
Five oral isolates each of Candida albicans and Candida krusei were studied for their sensitivity to the fungicidal effect of human lactoferrin. Significant inter- and intraspecies variations were observed and with most isolates the sensitivity of C. krusei to lactoferrin was greater than that of C. albicans. Fungicidal activity of lactoferrin was dose-dependent and observable only with the iron-free form of the molecule (apo-lactoferrin). Iron-saturated lactoferrin was ineffective against all isolates. Supernatant protein assays and scanning electron microscopy indicated cell surface alterations--leakage of proteins and formation of surface blebs--only in those Candida isolates that were sensitive to apo-lactoferrin. As lactoferrin is a common, non-immune, mucosal defence protein, its varying mode of action against C. albicans and C. krusei may be related to their different oral carriage rates.