Vancomycin enhances growth and virulence of Trichosporon spp. planktonic cells and biofilms.
Invasive fungal infections (IFIs) are important worldwide health problem, affecting the growing population of immunocompromised patients. Although the majority of IFIs are caused by Candida spp., other fungal species have been increasingly recognized as relevant opportunistic pathogens. Trichosporon spp. are members of skin and gut human microbiota. Since 1980's, invasive trichosporonosis has been considered a significant cause of fungemia in patients with hematological malignancies. As prolonged antibiotic therapy is an important risk factor for IFIs, the present study investigated if vancomycin enhances growth and virulence of Trichosporon. Vancomycin was tested against T. inkin (n = 6) and T. asahii (n = 6) clinical strains. Planktonic cells were evaluated for their metabolic activity and virulence against Caenorhabditis elegans. Biofilms were evaluated for metabolic activity, biomass production, amphotericin B tolerance, induction of persister cells, and ultrastructure. Vancomycin stimulated planktonic growth of Trichosporon spp., increased tolerance to AMB, and potentiates virulence against C. elegans. Vancomycin stimulated growth (metabolic activity and biomass) of Trichosporon spp. biofilms during all stages of development. The antibiotic increased the number of persister cells inside Trichosporon biofilms. These cells showed higher tolerance to AMB than persister cells from VAN-free biofilms. Microscopic analysis showed that VAN increased production of extracellular matrix and cells in T. inkin and T. asahii biofilms. These results suggest that antibiotic exposure may have a direct impact on the pathophysiology of opportunistic trichosporonosis in patients at risk.