Thymus vulgaris essential oil and thymol inhibit biofilms and interact synergistically with antifungal drugs against drug resistant strains of Candida albicans and Candida tropicalis.

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Thymus vulgaris essential oil and thymol inhibit biofilms and interact synergistically with antifungal drugs against drug resistant strains of Candida albicans and Candida tropicalis.

J Mycol Med. 2020 Apr;30(1):100911

Authors: Jafri H, Ahmad I

Abstract
Role of biofilm in disease development and enhance tolerance to antifungal drugs among Candida species has necessitated search for new anti-fungal treatment strategy. Interference in pathogenic biofilm development by new antifungal compounds is considered as an attractive anti-infective strategy. Therefore, the objective of this study was to evaluate Thymus vulgaris essential oil and its major active compound, thymol for their potential to inhibit and eradicate biofilms alone and in combination with antifungal drugs against Candida spp. with especial reference to Candida tropicalis. Anti-candidal efficacy of T. vulgaris and thymol in terms of minimum inhibitory concentration (MIC) was first determined to select the sub-MICs against C. albicans and C. tropicalis. Biofilm formation in the presence and absence of test agents was determined in 96-well microtiter plate by XTT reduction assay and effect of essential oils at sub-MICs of the test agents on biofilm development on glass surface was analysed by light and scanning electron microscopy. Synergistic interaction between essential oils and antifungal drugs were studied by checkerboard method. Effect of sub-MIC of T. vulgaris (0.5×MIC) and thymol (0.5×MIC) on biofilm formation showed a significant reduction (P<0.05) in biofilms. Light microscopy and SEM studies revealed disaggregation and deformed shape of C. albicans biofilm cells and reduced hyphae formation in C. tropicalis biofilm cells at sub-MICs of thymol. Significant effect of T. vulgaris and thymol was also recorded on pre-formed biofilms of both C. albicans and C. tropicalis. T. vulgaris and thymol also showed synergy with fluconazole against both in planktonic and biofilm mode of growth of C. albicans and C. tropicalis. However, synergy with amphotericin B is clearly evident only in planktonic Candida cells. Thyme oil and thymol alone or in combination with antifungal drugs can act as promising antibiofilm agent against drug resistant strains of Candida species and needs further in vivo study to synergise its therapeutic efficacy.

PMID: 32008964 [PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]