Ultrastructural analysis of Candida albicans when exposed to silver nanoparticles

PLoS One. 2014 Oct 7;9(10):e108876. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0108876. eCollection 2014.

Abstract

Candida albicans is the most common fungal pathogen in humans, and recently some studies have reported the antifungal activity of silver nanoparticles (AgNPs) against some Candida species. However, ultrastructural analyses on the interaction of AgNPs with these microorganisms have not been reported. In this work we evaluated the effect of AgNPs on C. albicans, and the minimum inhibitory concentration (MIC) was found to have a fungicidal effect. The IC50 was also determined, and the use of AgNPs with fluconazole (FLC), a fungistatic drug, reduced cell proliferation. In order to understand how AgNPs interact with living cells, the ultrastructural distribution of AgNPs in this fungus was determined. Transmission electron microscopy (TEM) analysis revealed a high accumulation of AgNPs outside the cells but also smaller nanoparticles (NPs) localized throughout the cytoplasm. Energy dispersive spectroscopy (EDS) analysis confirmed the presence of intracellular silver. From our results it is assumed that AgNPs used in this study do not penetrate the cell, but instead release silver ions that infiltrate into the cell leading to the formation of NPs through reduction by organic compounds present in the cell wall and cytoplasm.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Antifungal Agents / chemistry
  • Antifungal Agents / pharmacology
  • Candida albicans / drug effects*
  • Candida albicans / ultrastructure*
  • Humans
  • Metal Nanoparticles / administration & dosage*
  • Metal Nanoparticles / chemistry
  • Microbial Sensitivity Tests
  • Silver Compounds / administration & dosage*
  • Silver* / chemistry

Substances

  • Antifungal Agents
  • Silver Compounds
  • Silver

Grant support

This work was partially supported by a SEP-CONACyT grant (CB2011/169154). The authors also thank CONACyT for a grant to Roberto Vazquez-Muñoz. The funders had no role in study design, data collection and analysis, decision to publish, or preparation of the manuscript.