We evaluated the inhibitory effects of the probiotic Lactobacillus species on different phases of Candida albicans biofilm development. Quantification of biofilm growth and ultrastructural analyses were performed on C. albicans biofilms treated with Lactobacillus rhamnosus, Lactobacillus casei, and Lactobacillus acidophilus planktonic cell suspensions as well as their supernatants. Planktonic lactobacilli induced a significant reduction (p < 0.05) in the number of biofilm cells (25.5-61.8 %) depending on the probiotic strain and the biofilm phase. L. rhamnosus supernatants had no significant effect on the mature biofilm (p > 0.05), but significantly reduced the early stages of Candida biofilm formation (p < 0.01). Microscopic analyses revealed that L. rhamnosus suspensions reduced Candida hyphal differentiation, leading to a predominance of budding growth. All lactobacilli negatively impacted C. albicans yeast-to-hyphae differentiation and biofilm formation. The inhibitory effects of the probiotic Lactobacillus on C. albicans entailed both cell-cell interactions and secretion of exometabolites that may impact on pathogenic attributes associated with C. albicans colonization on host surfaces and yeast filamentation. This study clarifies, for the first time, the mechanics of how Lactobacillus species may antagonize C. albicans host colonization. Our data elucidate the inhibitory mechanisms that define the probiotic candicidal activity of lactobacilli, thus supporting their utility as an adjunctive therapeutic mode against mucosal candidal infections.
Keywords: Biofilm; Candida albicans; Candidiasis; Lactobacillus; Probiotics.