The alkyl glycerol ether rac-1-O-dodecylglycerol inhibited the growth of members of two genera of yeasts, Candida and Cryptococcus, and was strongly synergistic with amphotericin B. At one-half its MIC, dodecylglycerol decreased the MIC of amphotericin B by as much as 80-fold. This high degree of synergism between dodecylglycerol and amphotericin B was demonstrated against a number of species of yeasts including Candida albicans, Candida tropicalis, Candida parapsilosis, Cryptococcus neoformans, Cryptococcus albidus, and Cryptococcus laurentii. All fractional inhibitory concentrations (for all strains and species) were calculated to be less than 1, and most were less than 0.6, again demonstrating strong synergism. Other alkyl glycerol ethers with alkyl chain lengths ranging from 8 to 18 carbon atoms were also found to be synergistic with amphotericin B against C. neoformans and C. albicans. Electron microscopy experiments showed that C. neoformans grown in the presence of dodecylglycerol had severely abnormal, deformed capsules. Although the mechanism of action of dodecylglycerol is not known, dodecylglycerol was not simply acting as a detergent. The natural detergent sodium deoxycholate could not substitute for dodecylglycerol. At comparable and higher concentrations, sodium deoxycholate had no fungicidal effect on its own, nor did it potentiate the activity of amphotericin B. Dodecylglycerol did not interact synergistically with the water-soluble antifungal agent fluconazole. The lipid-soluble hydrophobic properties of amphotericin B appear to be important for this synergistic effect, in that alkyl glycerol ethers could promote synergism with amphotericin B by potentially increasing the interaction between membrane-bound ergosterol and amphotericin B.
Haynes MP, Buckley HR, Higgins ML, Pieringer RA. Synergism between the antifungal agents amphotericin B and alkyl glycerol ethers. Antimicrob Agents Chemother. 1994 July Department of Biochemistry, Fels Institute for Cancer Research and Molecular Biology, Temple University School of Medicine, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania 19140.