Clotrimazole is highly effectivein vitroagainst felineSporothrix brasiliensisisolates

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Sporothrix brasiliensis, the most virulent species in the Sporothrix schenckii complex, is responsible for the ongoing epidemics of human and animal sporotrichosis in Brazil. Feline outbreaks are usually driven by S. brasiliensis and followed by extensive transmission to humans. Itraconazole is the first-line treatment for both feline and human sporotrichosis; however, reduced sensitivity is an emerging issue. Thus, we investigated the effect of the widely used antifungal clotrimazole - alone or in combination with itraconazole - against the pathogenic (yeast) form of feline and human S. brasiliensis isolates, in vitro.


Minimum inhibitory concentration (MIC) and minimum fungicidal concentration (MFC) values were determined for treatment with clotrimazole and itraconazole, as monotherapy or in combination. In addition, the effect of the drugs on neutral lipid levels and the yeast ultrastructure were evaluated by flow cytometry and transmission electron microscopy (TEM), respectively.


The MIC and MFC values show that clotrimazole was more effective than itraconazole against feline S. brasiliensis isolates, while human isolates were more sensitive to itraconazole. Similarly to itraconazole, treatment with clotrimazole induced statistically significant neutral lipid accumulation in S. brasiliensis yeasts, and treated yeasts displayed irregularities in the cell membrane and a thicker cell wall when observed by TEM. Clotrimazole increased the antifungal activity of itraconazole in combination assays, with a synergistic effect for two feline isolates.


The strong activity of clotrimazole against feline S. brasiliensis isolates suggests that this drug is potentially a new alternative for the treatment of feline sporotrichosis, alone or in combination with itraconazole.

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