Application of a low molecular weight antifungal protein from Penicillium chrysogenum (PAF) to treat pulmonary aspergillosis in mice

Zoltán Palicz, Tamás Gáll, Éva Leiter, Sándor Kollár, Ilona Kovács, Kornél Miszti-Blasius, István Pócsi, László Csernoch, Péter Szentesi

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

11 Citations (Scopus)


PAF, a small antifungal protein from Penicillium chrysogenum, inhibits the growth of several pathogenic filamentous fungi, including members of the Aspergillus genus. PAF has been proven to have no toxic effects in vivo in mice by intranasal application. To test its efficacy against invasive pulmonary aspergillosis (IPA), experiments were carried out in mice suffering from IPA. Adult mice were immunosuppressed and then infected with Aspergillus fumigatus. After stable infection, the animals were inoculated with PAF intranasally at a concentration of 2.7 mg/kg twice per day. At this concentration - which is highly toxic in vitro to A. fumigatus - the mortality of the animals was slightly delayed but finally all animals died. Histological examinations revealed massive fungal infections in the lungs of both PAF-treated and untreated animal groups. Because intranasally administered PAF was unable to overcome IPA, modified and combined therapies were introduced. The intraperitoneal application of PAF in animals with IPA prolonged the survival of the animals only 1 day. Similar results were obtained with amphotericin B (AMB), with PAF and AMB being equally effective. Combined therapy with AMB and PAF - which are synergistic in vitro - was found to be more effective than either AMB or PAF treatment alone. As no toxic effects of PAF in mammals have been described thus far, and, moreover, there are so far no A. fumigatus strains with reported inherent or acquired PAF resistance, it is worth carrying out further studies to introduce PAF as a potential antifungal drug in human therapy.

Original languageEnglish
Article numbere114
JournalEmerging Microbes and Infections
Issue number11
Publication statusPublished - Nov 9 2016



  • antifungal protein
  • histology
  • mouse
  • pulmonary aspergillosis

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Parasitology
  • Epidemiology
  • Microbiology
  • Immunology
  • Drug Discovery
  • Virology
  • Infectious Diseases

Cite this