Immunomodulating activity of antifungal drugs

Ann N Y Acad Sci. 1993 Jun 23;685:447-57. doi: 10.1111/j.1749-6632.1993.tb35905.x.


1. The immunomodulating activity of antifungal drugs was reviewed. Although results are conflicting, all azole drugs tend to be immunosuppressive, except for fluconazole, which has no immunologic effect. In contrast, the polyene antibiotic amphotericin B (AMPH) is immunostimulatory. 2. AMPH induced host resistance to Pseudomonas aeruginosa infection in mice, whereas no azole drugs did so. 3. Polymorphonuclear leukocytes are activated by AMPH, but not by any azole drugs, in terms of the level of their adherence. 4. No azole drugs induce in vitro tumor necrosis factor alpha (TNF) production by macrophages, whereas AMPH slightly but substantially does so. 5. AMPH potently primes macrophages in vitro and in vivo so that they produce large amounts of TNF after the secondary stimulation (triggering) by bacterial lipopolysaccharides or a streptococcal preparation used for antitumor immunotherapy, OK432. 6. Viable or heat-killed Candida albicans cells are capable of inducing in vitro TNF production by macrophages. This activity of the fungal cells is enhanced by AMPH.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Adjuvants, Immunologic / pharmacology*
  • Amphotericin B / pharmacology
  • Animals
  • Antifungal Agents / pharmacology*
  • Candida albicans / immunology
  • Humans
  • Immunosuppressive Agents / pharmacology*
  • Macrophages / drug effects
  • Macrophages / immunology
  • Neutrophils / drug effects
  • Neutrophils / physiology
  • Pseudomonas Infections / immunology
  • Tumor Necrosis Factor-alpha / biosynthesis


  • Adjuvants, Immunologic
  • Antifungal Agents
  • Immunosuppressive Agents
  • Tumor Necrosis Factor-alpha
  • Amphotericin B