In vitro study to assess modulation of Candida biofilm by Escherichia coli from vaginal strains

Biofilm. 2023 Apr 2;5:100116. doi: 10.1016/j.bioflm.2023.100116. eCollection 2023 Dec.


BACKGROUND: Vulvovaginal candidiasis (VVC) is caused by biofilm formation and epithelial invasion. In addition, Escherichia coli (EC) can establish a vaginal intracellular reservoir modulating Candida spp. biofilm production. We aimed to analyze the behavior of Candida albicans (CA) and EC biofilm both in single cultures and in co-cultures.

METHODS: We prospectively collected CA and EC isolates from vaginal swabs over 6 months. We selected positive cultures with both CA and EC (cases) and a comparator group with either CA or EC (controls). We analyzed overall biomass production and metabolic activity in single cultures and in co-cultures based on staining assays, confocal laser scanning microscopy (CLSM) and scanning electron microscopy (SEM) to assess biofilm occupation. We also analyzed clinical manifestations.

RESULTS: We cultured 455 samples, 16 (3.5%) of which had CA and EC (cases); only CA or EC (controls) was detected, respectively, in 72 (15.8%) and 98 (21.5%). Biomass production and metabolic activity were significantly more pronounced in co-cultures in both groups. CLSM and SEM, on the other hand, showed the biofilm of each species to be significantly reduced when they were cultured together, with higher values in CA (percentage biofilm reduction: CA, 95.8% vs. EC, 36.2%, p < 0.001). There were no clinically significant differences between co-infected patients and patients infected only by C. albicans.

CONCLUSION: Ours is the first study assessing co-cultures of CA and EC in a large collection of samples. We observed that coinfection of CA and EC was unusual (3.5%) and promoted high biomass, whereas microscopy enabled us to detect a reduction in biofilm production when microorganisms were co-cultured. No differences in symptoms were observed.

PMID:37125396 | PMC:PMC10130766 | DOI:10.1016/j.bioflm.2023.100116


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