In vitro synergistic effect of farnesol and human gingival cells against Candida albicans

Yeast. 2006 Jul 15;23(9):673-87. doi: 10.1002/yea.1389.


Farnesol prevents the germination of yeast cells into mycelia, a fact that may be useful in eliminating C. albicans pathogenicity. Given the clinical potential of farnesol, its impact on C. albicans and host cells merited further investigation. We thus studied the effect of farnesol on C. albicans growth and filamentation and on gingival epithelial cells and fibroblasts and the synergistic effect of both gingival cells and farnesol on C. albicans filamentation. Repeated additions of farnesol reduced the growth of C. albicans. Farnesol was also effective at reducing C. albicans germ tube formation. While farnesol inhibited germ tube formation under the conditions tested, it was most effective at inhibiting C. albicans filamentation when added to the culture medium at the same time as the serum. Farnesol also had an effect on gingival cells. In a serum-free medium, farnesol reduced fibroblast adhesion and proliferation, promoted epithelial cell differentiation and reduced proliferation up to 48 h post-treatment. These effects were not seen in the presence of serum. When C. albicans, farnesol and gingival cells were present in the same culture, significantly greater inhibition of the yeast-to-hyphal transition was observed than germ tube inhibition in cultures containing only C. albicans and farnesol, suggesting a synergistic effect between the gingival cells and farnesol in inhibiting the transition. Overall, the data suggest that farnesol is effective against C. albicans and may have an effect on host cells at certain concentrations.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Candida albicans / drug effects*
  • Candida albicans / growth & development
  • Candida albicans / ultrastructure
  • Candidiasis, Oral / microbiology
  • Candidiasis, Oral / pathology
  • Cell Adhesion / drug effects
  • Cell Proliferation / drug effects
  • Cells, Cultured
  • Epithelial Cells / drug effects
  • Epithelial Cells / microbiology
  • Farnesol / pharmacology*
  • Fibroblasts / drug effects
  • Fibroblasts / microbiology
  • Gingiva / cytology
  • Gingiva / drug effects*
  • Gingiva / microbiology
  • Humans
  • Mouth Diseases / microbiology
  • Mouth Diseases / pathology


  • Farnesol