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Sci Rep. 2015 Sep 14;5:13985. doi: 10.1038/srep13985.

In vitro and in vivo Evaluation of Synergism between Anti-Tubercular Spectinamides and Non-Classical Tuberculosis Antibiotics.

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Department of Chemical Biology and Therapeutics, St. Jude Children's Research Hospital, Memphis, Tennessee, USA.
Mycobacterial Research Laboratories, Department of Microbiology, Colorado State University, Fort Collins, Colorado, USA.
Institut für Medizinische Mikrobiologie, Nationales Zentrum für Mykobakterien, Universität Zürich, Zürich, Switzerland.
Department of Pharmaceutical Sciences, College of Pharmacy, University of Tennessee Health Science Center, Memphis, Tennessee, USA.


Spectinamides are new semi-synthetic spectinomycin derivatives with potent anti-tubercular activity. The reported synergism of the precursor spectinomycin with other antibiotics prompted us to examine whether spectinamides sensitize M. tuberculosis to other antibiotics not traditionally used in the treatment of tuberculosis to potentially expand therapeutic options for MDR/XDR Tuberculosis. Whole cell synergy checkerboard screens were performed using the laboratory strain M. tuberculosis H37Rv, lead spectinamide 1599, and a broad panel of 27 antibiotics. In vitro, 1599 synergized with 11 drugs from 6 antibiotic classes. The observed synergy was tested against clinical isolates confirming synergy with Clarithromycin, Doxycycline and Clindamycin, combinations of which were taken forward for in vivo efficacy determination. Co-administration of 1599 and clarithromycin provided additional bacterial killing in a mouse model of acute tuberculosis infection, but not in a chronic infection model. Further studies indicated that mismatched drug exposure profiles likely permitted induction of phenotypic clarithromycin resistance and subsequent loss of synergism. These studies highlight the importance of validating in vitro synergism and the challenge of matching drug exposures to obtain a synergistic outcome in vivo. Results from this study indicate that a 1599 clarithromycin combination is potentially viable, providing the drug exposures can be carefully monitored.

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