Potential role of high molecular weight hyaluronan in the anti-Candida activity of human oral epithelial cells

Med Mycol. 2007 Feb;45(1):73-9. doi: 10.1080/13693780601039607.


Candida albicans is both a commensal and a pathogen in the oral mucosa. Previous studies have indicated that epithelial cell-associated carbohydrate moiety can inhibit C. albicans growth. In the present study, the mechanisms by which epithelial cells inhibit Candida growth were studied by examining the effect of hyaluronan (HA). A coculture of C. albicans and KB cells or COS-7 cells inhibited in vitro growth of the fungus by 50-87% at an effector-to-target (E:T) ratio of 80:1. Removing extracellular HA by hyaluronidase caused a significant decrease in the anti-Candida activity of the cells. In addition anti-Candida activity was observed at 1 micro g/ml HA (2000 kDa). The antifungal activity of extracellular HA was further studied by transiently transfecting COS-7 cells with human HSA1, HSA2, or HSA3 in order to produce high levels of extracellular HA. All of the transfectants inhibited C. albicans growth in vitro by 51-65% compared to 38% inhibition by the vector control (P<0.05). These results suggest that the anti-Candida activity of epithelial-cells is mediated by extracellular HA.

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • COS Cells
  • Candida albicans / growth & development*
  • Candidiasis / microbiology
  • Chlorocebus aethiops
  • Coculture Techniques
  • Epithelial Cells / immunology
  • Epithelial Cells / microbiology
  • Fibroblasts / immunology
  • Fibroblasts / microbiology
  • Humans
  • Hyaluronic Acid / deficiency
  • Hyaluronic Acid / genetics
  • Hyaluronic Acid / immunology*
  • Hyaluronoglucosaminidase / metabolism
  • Hyaluronoglucosaminidase / pharmacology
  • KB Cells
  • Mice
  • Mice, Inbred C57BL
  • Mice, Transgenic
  • Mouth Mucosa / cytology
  • Mouth Mucosa / immunology*
  • Mouth Mucosa / microbiology*
  • Transfection


  • Hyaluronic Acid
  • Hyaluronoglucosaminidase