Effect of iron on fluconazole activity against Candida albicans in presence of human serum or monocyte-derived macrophages

Mycopathologia. 1997;138(1):29-35. doi: 10.1023/a:1006889108673.


Human serum, transferrin, and apotransferrin are known to profoundly inhibit the growth of Candida albicans by iron deprivation. On the other hand, iron overload (iron saturated transferrin) is a serious risk factor for candidiasis in newborn and in leukemic patients. We tested the efficacy of fluconazole and the previously demonstrated synergy of fluconazole and effector cells against C. albicans under iron overload conditions where efficacy might be diminished. We confirm that exogenous iron completely reversed the inhibitory effect of human serum and report that the efficacy of fluconazole against C. albicans was not significantly compromised in a 24 h assay system. Although exogenous iron inhibited fungistatic activity of monocyte-derived macrophages, it did not interfere with the synergistic candidacidal activity of fluconazole and monocyte-derived macrophages. In 72 h assays, where fluconazole had candidacidal activity, exogenous iron did not compromise efficacy of fluconazole, and fluconazole activity was often increased. These in vitro results suggest that effectiveness of fluconazole therapy would not be compromised in iron overload situations in vivo.

MeSH terms

  • Antifungal Agents / pharmacology*
  • Apoproteins
  • Blood
  • Candida albicans / drug effects*
  • Candida albicans / growth & development
  • Drug Interactions
  • Fluconazole / pharmacology*
  • Humans
  • Iron / metabolism
  • Iron / pharmacology*
  • Macrophages
  • Microbial Sensitivity Tests
  • Monocytes
  • Transferrin


  • Antifungal Agents
  • Apoproteins
  • Transferrin
  • apotransferrin
  • Fluconazole
  • Iron