Azole-resistant and -susceptible Aspergillus fumigatus isolates show comparable fitness and azole treatment outcome in immunocompetent mice

Med Mycol. 2018 Aug 1;56(6):703-710. doi: 10.1093/mmy/myx109.


No data are available on the in vivo impact of infections with in vitro azole-resistant Aspergillus fumigatus in immunocompetent hosts. Here, the aim was to investigate fungal fitness and treatment response in immunocompetent mice infected with A. fumigatus (parental strain [ps]) and isogenic mutants carrying either the mutation M220K or G54W (cyp51A). The efficacy of itraconazole (ITC) and posaconazole (PSC) was investigated in mice, intravenously challenged either with a single or a combination of ps and mutants (6 × 105 conidia/mouse). Organ fungal burden and clinical parameters were measured. In coinfection models, no fitness advantage was observed for the ps strain when compared to the mutants (M220K and G54W) independent of the presence or absence of azole-treatment. For G54W, M220K, and the ps, no statistically significant difference in ITC and PSC treatment was observed in respect to fungal kidney burden. However, clinical parameters suggest that in particular the azole-resistant strain carrying the mutation G54W caused a more severe disease than the ps strain. Mice infected with G54W showed a significant decline in body weight and lymphocyte counts, while spleen/body weight ratio and granulocyte counts were increased. In immunocompetent mice, in vitro azole-resistance did not translate into therapeutic failure by either ITC or PSC; the immune system appears to play the key role in clearing the infection.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Antifungal Agents / administration & dosage
  • Antifungal Agents / pharmacology*
  • Aspergillosis / drug therapy
  • Aspergillosis / immunology
  • Aspergillosis / microbiology*
  • Aspergillosis / pathology
  • Aspergillus fumigatus / drug effects*
  • Aspergillus fumigatus / genetics
  • Aspergillus fumigatus / pathogenicity
  • Azoles / administration & dosage
  • Azoles / pharmacology*
  • Disease Models, Animal
  • Drug Resistance, Fungal / drug effects*
  • Drug Resistance, Fungal / genetics
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Itraconazole / administration & dosage
  • Itraconazole / pharmacology
  • Lymphocyte Count
  • Mice
  • Mice, Inbred BALB C
  • Microbial Sensitivity Tests
  • Mutation
  • Spleen / microbiology
  • Spleen / pathology
  • Treatment Outcome
  • Triazoles / administration & dosage
  • Triazoles / pharmacology
  • Virulence


  • Antifungal Agents
  • Azoles
  • Triazoles
  • Itraconazole
  • posaconazole