Antibiotic-induced decreases in the levels of microbial-derived short-chain fatty acids correlate with increased gastrointestinal colonization of Candida albicans

Sci Rep. 2019 Jun 20;9(1):8872. doi: 10.1038/s41598-019-45467-7.


Candida albicans is the fourth most common cause of systemic nosocomial infections, posing a significant risk in immunocompromised individuals. As the majority of systemic C. albicans infections stem from endogenous gastrointestinal (GI) colonization, understanding the mechanisms associated with GI colonization is essential in the development of novel methods to prevent C. albicans-related mortality. In this study, we investigated the role of microbial-derived short-chain fatty acids (SCFAs) including acetate, butyrate, and propionate on growth, morphogenesis, and GI colonization of C. albicans. Our results indicate that cefoperazone-treated mice susceptible to C. albicans infection had significantly decreased levels of SCFAs in the cecal contents that correlate with a higher fungal load in the feces. Further, using in vivo concentration of SCFAs, we demonstrated that SCFAs inhibit the growth, germ tube, hyphae and biofilm development of C. albicans in vitro. Collectively, results from this study suggest that antibiotic-induced decreases in the levels of SCFAs in the cecum enhances the growth and GI colonization of C. albicans.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Anti-Bacterial Agents / adverse effects*
  • Candida albicans / drug effects*
  • Candida albicans / growth & development
  • Candidiasis / microbiology*
  • Cecum / microbiology
  • Cefoperazone / adverse effects*
  • Fatty Acids, Volatile / metabolism*
  • Feces / microbiology
  • Female
  • Gastrointestinal Tract / drug effects
  • Gastrointestinal Tract / microbiology*
  • Mice
  • Mice, Inbred C57BL


  • Anti-Bacterial Agents
  • Fatty Acids, Volatile
  • Cefoperazone