Anti-biofilm activity of cannabidiol against candida albicans

Mark Feldman*, Ronit Vogt Sionov, Raphael Mechoulam, Doron Steinberg

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

28 Scopus citations

Abstract

Candida albicans is a common fungal pathogen in humans. Biofilm formation is an important virulence factor of C. albicans infections. We investigated the ability of the plant-derived cannabidiol (CBD) to inhibit the formation and removal of fungal biofilms. Further, we evaluated its mode of action. Our findings demonstrate that CBD exerts pronounced time-dependent inhibitory effects on biofilm formation as well as disruption of mature biofilm at a concentration range below minimal inhibitory and fungicidal concentrations. CBD acts at several levels. It modifies the architecture of fungal biofilm by reducing its thickness and exopolysaccharide (EPS) production accompanied by downregulation of genes involved in EPS synthesis. It alters the fungal morphology that cor-related with upregulation of yeast-associated genes and downregulation of hyphae-specific genes. Importantly, it represses the expression of C. albicans virulence-associated genes. In addition, CBD increases ROS production, reduces the intracellular ATP levels, induces mitochondrial membrane hyperpolarization, modifies the cell wall, and increases the plasma membrane permeability. In conclusion, we propose that CBD exerts its activity towards C. albicans biofilm through a multi-target mode of action, which differs from common antimycotic agents, and thus can be explored for further development as an alternative treatment against fungal infections.

Original languageAmerican English
Article number441
Pages (from-to)1-17
Number of pages17
JournalMicroorganisms
Volume9
Issue number2
DOIs
StatePublished - 20 Feb 2021

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2021 by the authors. Licensee MDPI, Basel, Switzerland.

Keywords

  • Biofilm
  • C. albicans
  • CBD
  • Cell stress
  • Gene expression
  • Virulence

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