Biofilms and vulvovaginal candidiasis

Colloids Surf B Biointerfaces. 2019 Feb 1;174:110-125. doi: 10.1016/j.colsurfb.2018.11.011. Epub 2018 Nov 7.


Candida species, including C. albicans, are part of the mucosal flora of most healthy women, and inhabit the gastrointestinal and genitourinary tracts. Under favourable conditions, they can colonize the vulvovaginal mucosa, giving rise to symptomatic vulvovaginal candidiasis (VVC). The mechanism by which Candida spp. produces inflammation is unknown. Both, the blastoconidia and the pseudohyphae are capable of destroying the vaginal epithelium by direct invasion. Although the symptoms are not always related to the fungal burden, in general, VVC is associated with a greater number of yeasts and pseudohyphae. Some years ago, C. albicans was the species most frequently involved in the different forms of VVC. However, infections by different species have emerged during the last two decades producing an increase in causative species of VVC such as C. glabrata, C. parapsilosis, C. krusei and C. tropicalis. Candida species are pathogenic organisms that have two forms of development: planktonic and biofilm. A biofilm is defined as a community of microorganisms attached to a surface and encompassed by an extracellular matrix. This form of presentation gives microorganisms greater resistance to antifungal agents. This review, about Candia spp. with a special emphasis on Candida albicans discusses specific areas such as biofilm structure and development, cell morphology and biofilm formation, biofilm-associated gene expression, the cell surface and adherence, the extracellular matrix, biofilm metabolism, and biofilm drug resistance in vulvovaginitis biofilms as an important virulence factor in fungi.

Keywords: Antifungals; Biofilms; Candida albicans; Candida spp.; Probiotics; Vulvovaginal candidiasis.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Antifungal Agents / pharmacology*
  • Biofilms / drug effects
  • Biofilms / growth & development*
  • Candida / pathogenicity*
  • Candidiasis, Vulvovaginal / drug therapy*
  • Candidiasis, Vulvovaginal / microbiology*
  • Candidiasis, Vulvovaginal / pathology
  • Drug Resistance, Fungal*
  • Female
  • Humans


  • Antifungal Agents