Miltefosine is fungicidal to Paracoccidioides spp. yeast cells but subinhibitory concentrations induce melanisation

Diego Conrado Pereira Rossi, Cristina de Castro Spadari, Joshua Daniel Nosanchuk, Carlos Pelleschi Taborda, Kelly Ishida

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

26 Scopus citations


Paracoccidioidomycosis (PCM) is a systemic mycosis caused by the dimorphic fungi Paracoccidioides spp. The duration of antifungal treatment ranges from months to years and relapses may nevertheless occur despite protracted therapy. Thus, there remains an urgent need for new therapeutic options. Miltefosine (MLT), an analogue of alkylphospholipids, has antifungal activity against species of yeast and filamentous fungi. The aim of this study was to evaluate the antifungal effects of MLT on the yeast forms of Paracoccidioides brasiliensis and Paracoccidioides lutzii. MLT demonstrated inhibitory activity from 0.12 to 1 µg/mL, which was similar to amphotericin B or the combination trimethoprim/sulfamethoxazole but was not more effective than itraconazole. The fungicidal activity of MLT occurred at concentrations ≥1 µg/mL. Ultrastructural alterations were observed following exposure of the fungus to a subinhibitory concentration of MLT, such as cytoplasmic membrane alteration, mitochondrial swelling, electron-lucent vacuole accumulation and increasing melanosome-like structures. Melanin production by yeasts following MLT exposure was confirmed by labelling with antibodies to melanin. In addition, the combination of a subinhibitory concentration of MLT and tricyclazole, an inhibitor of DHN-melanin biosynthesis, drastically reduced yeast viability. In conclusion, MLT had a fungicidal effect against both Paracoccidioides spp., and a subinhibitory concentration impacted melanogenesis. These findings suggest that additional investigations should be pursued to establish a role for MLT in the treatment of PCM.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)465-471
Number of pages7
JournalInternational Journal of Antimicrobial Agents
Issue number4
StatePublished - Apr 1 2017


  • Antifungal
  • Melanin
  • Miltefosine
  • Paracoccidioides

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Microbiology (medical)
  • Infectious Diseases
  • Pharmacology (medical)


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