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Infectious Diseases in Obstetrics and Gynecology
Volume 2006 (2006), Article ID 98218, 6 pages
Clinical Study

Adherence and Blocking of Candida Albicans to Cultured Vaginal Epithelial Cells: Treatments to Decrease Adherence

1Office of University Research, Des Moines University, 3200 Grand Avenue, Des Moines, IA 50312, USA
2School of Medicine, Emory University, 69 Jesse Hill Jr Drive, SE Glenn Building, Atlanta, GA 30303, USA

Received 10 January 2006; Revised 29 March 2006; Accepted 6 April 2006

Copyright © 2006 Cara Hollmer et al. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


Background. Pathogenesis of mucosal microorganisms depends on adherence to the tissues they colonize and infect. For Candida albicans, cell surface hydrophobicity may play a significant role in tissue binding ability. Methods. A continuous cell line of vaginal epithelial cells (VEC) was grown in keratinocyte serum-free medium (KSFM) with supplements and harvested by trypsinization. VEC were combined with yeast cells to evaluate adherence and inhibition of adherence. In this experimental setup, yeast stained with fluorescein isothiocyanate were allowed to attach to VEC and the resulting fluorescent VEC were detected by flow cytometry. Results. VEC were cultured and examined daily after plating and showed morphology similar to basal epithelial cells. Culture media supplemented with estradiol showed increased VEC proliferation initially (first 24 h) but cell morphology was not altered. Fluorescinated Candida cells bound effectively to the cultured VEC. Using fresh cells exposed to various preparations of K-Y, we showed that all formulations of the product reduced Candida binding to VEC by 25% to 50%. While VEC were generally harvested for use in experiments when they were near confluent growth, we allowed some cultures to grow beyond that point and discovered that cells allowed to become overgrown or stressed appeared to bind yeast cells more effectively. Conclusion. Flow cytometry is a useful method for evaluating binding of stained yeast cells to cultured VEC and has demonstrated that commercially available products have the ability to interfere with the process of yeast adherence to epithelial cells.