Antifungal effects of undecylenic acid on the biofilm formation of Candida albicans

Int J Clin Pharmacol Ther. 2016 May;54(5):343-53. doi: 10.5414/CP202460.


Undecylenic acid can effectively control skin fungal infection, but the mechanism of its fungal inhibition is unclear. Hyphal growth of Candida albicans (C. albicans) and biofilm formation have been well recognized as important virulence factors for the initiation of skin infection and late development of disseminated infection. In this study, we seek to investigate antifungal mechanisms of undecylenic acid by evaluating the virulence factors of C. albicans during biofilm formation. We found that undecylenic acid inhibits biofilm formation of C. albicans effectively with optimal concentration above 3 mM. In the presence of this compound, the morphological transition from yeast to filamentous phase is abolished ultimately when the concentration of undecylenic acid is above 4 mM. Meanwhile, the cell surface is crumpled, and cells display an atrophic appearance under scanning electron microscopy even with low concentration of drug treatment. On the other hand, the drug treatment decreases the transcriptions of hydrolytic enzymes such as secreted aspartic protease, lipase, and phospholipase. Hyphal formation related genes, like HWP1, are significantly reduced in transcriptional level in drug-treated biofilm condition as well. The down-regulated profile of these genes leads to a poorly organized biofilm in undecylenic acid treated environment.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Antifungal Agents / pharmacology*
  • Biofilms / drug effects*
  • Biofilms / growth & development
  • Candida albicans / drug effects*
  • Candida albicans / genetics
  • Candida albicans / growth & development
  • Candida albicans / metabolism
  • Candida albicans / pathogenicity
  • Dose-Response Relationship, Drug
  • Gene Expression Regulation, Fungal / drug effects
  • Microbial Viability / drug effects
  • Undecylenic Acids / pharmacology*
  • Virulence Factors / metabolism


  • Antifungal Agents
  • Undecylenic Acids
  • Virulence Factors
  • undecylenic acid