Introduction and Aim: The indiscriminate use and adverse effects of the main conventional antifungal agents compromise the effectiveness of treating vulvovaginal candidiasis (VVC), mainly caused by the species Candida albicans. This study evaluated the effectiveness of photodynamic therapy (PDT) and the in vitro and in vivo anti-candida potential of the hypericin (HYP)-loaded nanostructured lipid carriers (NLC). Materials and Methods: Empty NLC and NLC-HYP were characterized by the dynamic light scattering technique and transmission electron microscopy to evaluate the average particle size distribution and its morphologies. The in vitro inhibition photodynamic effect of the systems was tested to reduce the planktonic viability of C. albicans. The therapeutic assay photodynamic of the systems was performed to treat VVC in mice. Results: Empty NLC and NLC-HYP presented values of average hydrodynamic diameter, polydispersity index, and ζ-potential from 136 to 133 nm, 0.16 to 0.22, and -18 to -30 mV, respectively, on day 30. Microscopically, the systems showed spherical morphologies and nanoscale particles. Furthermore, in the in vitro inhibition assay, the treatment of PDT with NLC-HYP (NLC-HYP+) showed a significant reduction of the C. albicans planktonic viability compared to YNB negative control after 5 min of LED light irradiation. In the in vivo therapeutic assay, the antifungal group (vaginal antifungal cream) and NLC-HYP+ evaluated in the dark and by PDT, respectively, had a significant log10 reduction in fungal burden compared to the infected group on day 8 of the VVC treatment. Conclusion: Due to the in vitro and in vivo anti-candida potential, PDT-mediated systems can be an effective strategy in VVC therapy.
Bibliographical noteFunding Information:
This work was supported by the São Paulo Research Foundation (FAPESP) [grant numbers 2016/11198-4, 2018/17573-7, 2017/22758-3, 2019/10261-2, and 2019/17913-5], Coordenação de Aperfeiçoamento de Pessoal de Nível Superior (CAPES - Finance Code 001), Conselho Nacional de Desenvolvimento Científico e Tecnológico (CNPq), Programa de Apoio ao Desenvolvimento Científico da Faculdade de Ciências Farmacêuticas (PADC-FCF-UNESP) and the Ulster University.
- Antifungal activity
- Candida albicans
- Nanostructured lipid carriers
- Photodynamic therapy