Micafungin Elicits an Immunomodulatory Effect in Galleria mellonella and Mice

Beth Burgwyn Fuchs, Yan Li, Dedong Li, Tatiana Johnston, Gabriel Hendricks, Gang Li, Rajmohan Rajamuthiah, Eleftherios Mylonakis

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

19 Scopus citations


The echinocandin family of drugs is well characterized for antifungal function that inhibits β-d-glucan synthesis. The aim of this work was to study whether micafungin, a member of the echinocandin family, elicits additional activities that prime the host’s immune response. We found that in a Galleriamellonella model, prophylactic treatment with micafungin extended the life of Staphylococcusaureus-infected larvae (a pathogen to which the drug demonstrates no direct antimicrobial activity) compared to insects that did not receive micafungin (P < 0.05). The inhibition of pathogens in the G. mellonella infection model was characterized by a 2.43-fold increase in hemocyte density, compared to larvae inoculated with PBS. In a murine model where animals were provided micafungin prophylaxis 3 days prior to macrophage collection, macrophages were found associated with an average 0.9 more fungal cells per macrophage as compared to saline-treated animals. Interestingly, micafungin-stimulated macrophages killed 11.6 ± 6.2 % of fungal cells compared to 3.8 ± 2.4 % of macrophages from saline-treated animals. The prophylactic provision of micafungin prior to Candida albicans infection was characterized by an increase in the proinflammatory cytokines CXCL13 and SPP1 by 11- and 6.9-fold, respectively. In conclusion, micafungin demonstrated the ability to stimulate phagocytic cells and promote an immune response that can inhibit microbial infections.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)17-25
Number of pages9
Issue number1-2
StatePublished - Feb 1 2016


  • Candida albicans
  • Echinocandins
  • Galleria mellonella
  • Immunomodulatory
  • Micafungin

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Microbiology
  • Applied Microbiology and Biotechnology
  • Agronomy and Crop Science
  • veterinary (miscalleneous)


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