Candida albicans has emerged as an important nosocomial pathogen. The morbidity and mortality associated with this pathogen are related to the presence of virulence genes and antifungal resistance. The objective of the present study was to investigate the prevalence of antifungal resistance, biofilm formation and some virulence genes such as ALS1, PLB1, INT1, SAP1 and HWP1, among clinical isolates of Candida albicans recovered from immunocompromised patients.
The study included one hundred C. albicans isolates identified phenotypically and by a molecular technique using Polymerase Chain Reaction (PCR). The identified C. albicans was further subjected to antifungal study by the microdilution method, biofilm study and molecular study for virulence genes by PCR.
The resistance to antifungal drugs, fluconazole, caspofungin and itraconazole was 8% for each of them and for amphotericin B, it was 9%. The prevalence of the studied virulence genes was HWP1 77%, INT1 72%, ALS1 65%, SAP1 65% and PLB1 52%. The biofilm capacity was identified by the microplate method in 58% of C. albicans. The OD was intense in 20 isolates, moderate in 21 isolates and mild in 17 isolates. There was a statistically significant increase in the prevalence of the studied virulence genes INT1, ALS1, HWP1, SAP1 and PLB1 among biofilm forming C. albicans as compared to non-biofilm forming isolates (P=0.0001). Additionally, the resistance to fluconazole, itraconazole and caspofungin was statistically, significantly higher in C. albicans with the capacity to form biofilm as compared to non-biofilm forming C. albicans.
The present study highlights the prevalence of resistance to antifungal drugs among C. albicans which are not uncommon. Moreover, there was a high prevalence of INT1, ALS1, HWP1, SAP1 and PLB1 genes in C. albicans. The resistance to antifungal drugs was common among isolates with the capacity to form the biofilm. There was an association between the biofilm formation and virulence genes.
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* Address correspondence to this author at Clinical Pathology Department, Mansoura Faculty of Medicine, El-Gomhoria street, Mansoura, Egypt;