Effects of methylprednisolone and cyclosporine A on fungal growth in vitro

Cornea. 1999 May;18(3):306-13. doi: 10.1097/00003226-199905000-00012.


Purpose: The management of corneal transplants after mycotic keratitis often poses a therapeutic dilemma. Clinicians are hesitant to use topical steroids because of their potential enhancement of fungal growth. This study seeks to evaluate the in vitro effects of methylprednisolone and cyclosporine A on the growth of various molds that often are responsible for keratomycoses.

Methods: Fusarium oxysporum, Fusarium solani, and Aspergillus fumigatus were grown in the presence of varying concentrations of methylprednisolone, cyclosporine A, and vehicle controls. Fungal growth was evaluated in a masked fashion based on the number of colonies and their morphologies.

Results: All tested concentrations of cyclosporine A (1%, 2%, 4%) had a statistically significant suppressive effect on the growth of F. oxysporum (p<0.001) and F. solani (p<0.001) compared with methylprednisolone and vehicle control solutions. A dose-dependent decrease in the number of colonies grown also was noted for F. oxysporum (p<0.001) and F. solani (p<0.001). In the case of A. fumigatus, cyclosporine A significantly decreased the colony size (p<0.015) in a dose-dependent fashion.

Conclusions: Cyclosporine A appears to have an inhibitory effect on fungal growth in vitro. Cyclosporine A may be an important alternative to topical steroids for management of corneal transplants after mycotic keratitis.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Antifungal Agents / pharmacology*
  • Colony Count, Microbial
  • Cyclosporine / pharmacology*
  • Dose-Response Relationship, Drug
  • Fungi / drug effects*
  • Fungi / growth & development*
  • Glucocorticoids / pharmacology*
  • In Vitro Techniques
  • Methylprednisolone / pharmacology*


  • Antifungal Agents
  • Glucocorticoids
  • Cyclosporine
  • Methylprednisolone