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Evaluation of anti-Candida activity of Mentha species and their bioactive compounds, isolated or in combination, and their effects on the fungal cells.


Fungi of the genus Candida, have become more frequent as agents of fungal infections, particularly associated with immunocompromised patients. It has been reported in the literature an increasing occurrence of resistance of these microorganisms to antifungal drugs available for the treatment of these pathologies, such as polyenes and azoles agents, which has led researchers in this field to seek new alternatives for drugs that have action against these organisms. Medicinal plants have long been used in the treatment of diseases through their extracts, essential oils and their bioactive components which makes them great source of new drugs research. Essential oils extracted from plants of the genus Mentha spp. have demonstrated potential of antimicrobial action, especially antifungal activity against fungi of the genus Candida, as described by several authors in the literature.Therefore, this project involves several researchers effort in order to continue the study of the antifungal activity of plants of the genus Mentha, already initiated in this research group of the FOP/UNICAMP. The specific aims of the study are: 1) to evaluate the composition of essential oil obtained from Mentha species; 2) to evaluate the antifungal activity (MIC) of essential oil extracted and compounds commercially obtained: menthone, menthofuran, pulegone, carvone and menthol; 3) to evaluate the effect of essential oil and the isolated compounds on yeast cell, using flow cytometry and electron microscopy techniques; 4) to verify the influence of essential oil and compounds on the production of SAP protein and its gene expression in Candida albicans; 5) to check the action of the oils obtained and compounds on the hyphae production and biofilm formation in Candida albicans; 6) assessing the presence of antimicrobial synergistic effect of the combinations of the follow substances: essential oil of Menha spp., antifungal agents and isolated mint compounds. 7) to evaluate possible cytotoxic effects of essential oil and its compounds on human epithelial cells.The composition of the extracted oil will be obtained by thin layer chromatography and gas chromatography in order to detect the bioactive components with antimicrobial activity. Broth microdilution method will be used for sensitivity test of the Candida spp. to essential oil, isolated compounds and combinations. The minimum inhibitory concentration (MIC) of the combined substances will be evaluated by the Checkerboard method to determine the occurrence of synergism, antagonism or no interaction. Essential oils and compounds presenting antifungal effect in the susceptibility test will be used to assess how these components exert action on cell yeast in hyphal production, biofilm formation and SAP expression in Candida albicans. The cell integrity will be evaluate by flow cytometry technique. The mint essential oil and compounds will be tested for their ability to inhibit the formation of hyphae of C. albicans, using solid and liquid medium containing 10% fetal bovine serum, with subsequent analysis by optical microscopy and SEM. The gene expression of SAP proteins will be analyzed by RT-PCR. Thus, these studies may help to elucidate the potential and mechanism of action of the essential oils and compounds derived from Mentha spp. against potentially pathogenic Candida yeasts. (AU)

Scientific publications
(References retrieved automatically from Web of Science and SciELO through information on FAPESP grants and their corresponding numbers as mentioned in the publications by the authors)
SANTANA, PRISCILLA DE LAET; BUSATO DE FEIRIA, SIMONE NATALY; HOFLING, JOSE FRANCISCO. Medicinal Plants as a Source of New Therapeutic Products: Genus Mentha and the Potential Antimicrobial Activity of Extracts and Essential Oils. JOURNAL OF FUNGI, v. 2, n. 2, p. 94-114, 2016. Web of Science Citations: 0.

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