Penetration and damage of endothelial cells by Candida albicans

S. G. Filler, J. N. Swerdloff, C. Hobbs, P. M. Luckett

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166 Scopus citations


The mechanisms of phagocytosis of Candida albicans by human vascular endothelial calls and subsequent endothelial cell injury were examined in vitro. Both live and killed C. albicans cells were phagocytized by endothelial cells. This organism specifically induced endothelial cell phagocytosis because neither Candida tropicalis nor Torulopsis glabrata was ingested. Endothelial cell microfilaments polymerized around C. albicans as the organisms were phagocytized. Cytochalasin D inhibited this polymerization of microfilaments around C. albicans and blocked phagocytosis. The blocking of actin depolymerization with phalloidin had no effect on microfilament condensation around the organism, indicating that the microfilaments surrounding C. albicans are formed from a pool of G-actin. Intact microtubules were also necessary for the phagocytosis of C. albicans, since the depolymerizing of endothelial cell microtubules with nocodazole prevented the condensation of actin filaments around the organisms and inhibited phagocytosis. In contrast, microtubule depolymerization was not required for microfilament function because the blocking of microtubule depolymerization with taxol had no effect on microfilament condensation around C. albicans. The phagocytosis of C. albicans was pivotal in the induction of endothelial cell damage, since the blocking of candidal internalization significantly reduced endothelial cell injury. Endothelial cells were not damaged by phagocytosis of dead organisms, indicating that injury was caused by a factor associated with viable organisms. Therefore, C. albicans is uniquely able to induce endothelial cell phagocytosis by comparison with non-albicans species of Candida. Furthermore, at least two components of the endothelial cytoskeleton, microfilaments and microtubules, are necessary for the phagocytosis of C. albicans.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)976-983
Number of pages8
JournalInfection and immunity
Issue number3
StatePublished - 1995

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Parasitology
  • Microbiology
  • Immunology
  • Infectious Diseases


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