Phenotypic switching is a reversible and heritable characteristic that provides C. albicans with the capacity to rapidly adapt to changes in its environment. The purpose of this study was to assess the ability of different switch phenotypes of a single strain of Candida albicans to colonize the oral mucosa of immunosuppressed Balb/c mice.
Material and Methods:
Seventy two Balb/c mice were inoculated with one of four switch phenotypes of Candida albicans. During an experimental period of nine days, mice were swabbed daily for oral carriage and evaluated post mortem (day 9) for variability in phenotype and adhesion by SEM and TEM.
Great variability was seen in the ability of switch phenotypes from a single strain of Candida albicans to colonize the oral mucosa of immunosuppressed mice. Very wrinkled and Ring had the highest levels of colonization followed by Smooth white and Heavily myceliated. TEM showed fimbrial attachment between yeast and epithelial cells and yeast themselves. SEM analysis showed differences in morphology of the switch phenotypes.
Some phenotypes of Candida albicans are better able to adhere to the oral mucosa of Balb/c mice. These differences may add to the ability of Candida albicans to survive under adverse conditions or evade the host immune response.
Candida, candidiasis, adhesion, switching