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Nystatin is a polyene antifungal drug to which many molds and yeast infections are sensitive, including Candida spp. Nystatin has some toxicity associated with it when given intravenously, but it is not absorbed across intact skin or mucous membranes. It is considered a relatively safe drug for treating oral or gastrointestinal fungal infections.
Cutaneous, vaginal, mucosal and esophageal Candida infections usually respond well to treatment with nystatin. Cryptococcus is also sensitive to nystatin. In the UK its license for treating neonatal oral thrush is restricted to those over the age of one month (miconazole is an appropriate alternative for younger babies).
Nystatin is often used as prophylaxis in patients who are at risk for fungal infections, such as AIDS patients with a low CD4+ count and patients receiving chemotherapy.
It is prescribed in units, with doses varying from 100,000 (for oral infections) to 1 million (for intestinal ones). As it is not absorbed from the gut, it is safe for oral use and does not have problems of drug interactions.
It is also used in cellular biology as an inhibitor of the raft/caveolae endocytosis pathway on mamallian cells (at concentrations around 3 µg/mL)
In certain cases, Nystatin has been used to prevent the spread of mold on objects such as works of art. For example, it was applied to wood panel paintings damaged as a result of the Arno River Flood of 1966 in Florence, Italy.
Nystatin is also used as a tool by scientists performing "perforated" patch-clamp electrophysiologic recordings of cells. When loaded in the recording pipette, it allows for measurement of electrical currents without washing out the intracellular contents, because it forms pores in the cell membrane that are permeable to only monovalent ions.
Mechanism of action
Like amphotericin B and natamycin, nystatin binds to ergosterol, a major component of the fungal cell membrane. When present in sufficient concentrations, it forms pores in the membrane that lead to K+ leakage and death of the fungus. Ergosterol is fairly unique to fungi, so the drug does not have such catastrophic effects on animals.
Like many other antifungals and antibiotics, nystatin is of bacterial origin. It was isolated from Streptomyces noursei in 1950 by Elizabeth Lee Hazen and Rachel Fuller Brown, who were doing research for the Division of Laboratories and Research of the New York State Department of Health. The soil sample where they discovered nystatin was from the garden of Hazen's friends called Nourses, therefore the strain was called noursei. Hazen and Brown named nystatin after the New York State Public Health Department (now known as the Wadsworth Center) in 1954.
|This article is licensed under the GNU Free Documentation License. It uses material from the Wikipedia article "Nystatin". A list of authors is available in Wikipedia.|