Mycetoma is a tropical neglected disease characterized by large subcutaneous lesions in which the causative organisms reside in the form of grains. The most common causative agent is Madurella mycetomatis. Antifungal therapy often fails due to these grains, but to identify novel treatment options has been difficult since grains do not form in vitro. We recently used Galleria mellonella larvae to develop an in vivo grain model. In the current study, we set out to determine the therapeutic efficacy of commonly used antifungal agents in this larval model. Pharmacokinetics of ketoconazole, itraconazole, voriconazole, posaconazole, amphotericin B, and terbinafine were determined in the hemolymph of G. mellonella larvae. Antifungal therapy was given either therapeutically or prophylactic on three consecutive days in therapeutically equivalent dosages. Survival was monitored for 10 days and colony-forming units (cfu) and melanization were determined on day 3. Measurable concentrations of antifungal agents were found in the hemolymph of the larvae. None of the azole antifungal agents prolonged survival when given therapeutically or prophylactically. Amphotericin B and terbinafine did prolong survival, even at concentrations below the minimal inhibitory concentration of M. mycetomatis. The cfu and melanization did not differ between any of the treated groups and phosphate-buffered saline (PBS) treated groups. Grains were still present in surviving larvae but appeared to be encapsulated. This study demonstrated for the first time a comparison between the efficacy of different antifungal agents toward grains of M. mycetomatis. It appeared that amphotericin B and terbinafine were able to prolong larval survival.

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Medical Mycology
Department of Medical Microbiology and Infectious Diseases

Kloezen, W, Parel, F, Brüggemann, R.J, Asouit, K, Helvert-van Poppel, M, Fahal, A.H, … van de Sande, W.W.J. (2018). Amphotericin B and terbinafine but not the azoles prolong survival in Galleria mellonella larvae infected with Madurella mycetomatis. Medical Mycology, 56(4), 469–478. doi:10.1093/mmy/myx064