Objectives: The antifungal activity of curcumin was evaluated against 23 fungi strains and its in vitro inhibitory effect on the adhesion of Candida species to human buccal epithelial cells (BEC) was also investigated.
Methods: The antifungal susceptibility was evaluated by broth microdilution assay following the CLSI (formerly the NCCLS) guidelines. The inhibitory effect of curcumin on the cell adhesion was performed with Candida species and BEC.
Results: Paracoccidioides brasiliensis isolates were the most susceptible to curcumin while the growth of Aspergillus isolates was not affected. Curcumin was much more efficient than fluconazole in inhibiting the adhesion of Candida species to BEC, particularly those strains isolated from the buccal mucosa of AIDS patients.
Conclusions: The lack of antifungal compounds with reduced side effects highlights the importance of studying natural products for this purpose. Curcumin was a more potent antifungal than fluconazole against P. brasiliensis, the causal agent of the neglected disease paracoccidioidomycosis. Curcumin dramatically inhibited the adhesion of Candida species isolated from AIDS patients to BEC, demonstrating that curcumin is a promising lead compound that warrants further investigation into its therapeutical use in immunocompromised patients.