Chytridiomycosis is caused by the fungus Batrachochytrium dendrobatidis and is one of the primary causes of the global decline in amphibian populations and specifically of the Panamanian golden frog (Atelopus zeteki). Itraconazole has been demonstrated to be an effective treatment for chytridiomycosis by inhibiting cytochrome P450, a major enzyme important for the structure of B. dendrobatidis zoospores' plasma membranes. However, anecdotal reports of toxicity in this and other amphibian species have been reported at the 0.01% concentration. This study is the first to determine pharmacokinetics of 0.01% and 0.001% itraconazole in the Panamanian golden frog. Frogs were bathed 10 min, euthanized, and skin, liver, and heart were collected at 0, 0.5, 1, 2, 4, 6, 8, 10, 12, 24, and 36 hr. Itraconazole concentrations were measured using high performance liquid chromatography, and the minimum inhibitory concentration (MIC) of itraconazole (0.032 μg/ml) for B. dendrobatidis was used to determine whether therapeutic concentrations were attained. Itraconazole was detected in all tissues at both concentrations, indicating systemic absorption. At the 0.01% itraconazole bath, itraconazole concentrations in all tissues exceeded the MIC at all time points, and the lack of decline until the end of the study at 36 hr precluded determining a disappearance half-life. With the 0.001% bath, itraconazole exceeded the MIC and declined with a disappearance half-life that markedly varied (14.1–1,244 min). This study augments the growing literature base on chytridiomycosis and seeks to aid in further experimental attempts to find the most-optimal treatment protocol for this disease.
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