Inhibition of dermatophytes by photodynamic treatment with curcumin

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Treatment of dermatophytoses with currently available antimycotic agents is often tedious and sometimes unsatisfactory. A search for better therapeutic methods - ideally with an immediate fungicidal effect - has, among others, lead to photodynamic procedures as a promising alternative, and recently curcumin was found to be a suitable agent for this application. In this study the effect of photodynamic treatment with curcumin on dermatophytes was tested in vitro. Wells of microtiter plates were filled with conidia of Trichophyton rubrum, Trichophyton interdigitale, Trichophyton terrestre, Microsporum canis, Microsporum gypseum and Epidermophyton floccosum in buffer. Then curcumin was added to the conidia and after 20 min the assays were irradiated one time only with visible light (peak wave length 367 nm, 5 J/cm2). Thereafter the wells were filled up with Sabouraud's glucose broth and in the following fungal growth was measured photometrically. The results showed that all dermatophytes were markedly inhibited depending on the concentration of curcumin. With 5.4 mg/l curcumin plus irradiation fungal growth was significantly suppressed over a period of 96 h (P < .001). Even after 96 h inhibition of T. rubrum was still complete and marked for all other species as well. M. gypseum was least susceptible. Our results are very encouraging to pursue the development of a photodynamic therapy of tinea with curcumin. The outstanding tolerance of curcumin and the innocuousness of the required light are favorable preconditions for this task.




Brasch, J., Freitag-Wolf, S., Beck-Jendroschek, V., & Huber, M. (2017). Inhibition of dermatophytes by photodynamic treatment with curcumin. Medical Mycology, 55(7), 754–762.

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