Send to

Choose Destination
Pathology. 2004 Dec;36(6):571-5.

Sub-inhibitory concentrations of ceftazidime and tobramycin reduce the quorum sensing signals of Pseudomonas aeruginosa.

Author information

Adult Cystic Fibrosis Unit, The Prince Charles Hospital, Brisbane, Queensland, Australia.



Concentrations of antimicrobials below minimum inhibitory concentration (subMIC) may reduce the production by Pseudomonas aeruginosa of virulence factors such as elastase. We sought to determine whether the reduction in elastase production may be mediated by a reduction in acyl-homoserine lactones.


Pseudomonas aeruginosa in broth was exposed to three conditions for ceftazidime and tobramycin: control, 6% MIC and 25% MIC. Elastase was assayed using elastin congo red. N-(3-Oxododecanoyl)-homoserine lactone (C12-HSL) and N-butyryl-homoserine lactone (C4-HSL) were assayed using biosensor Escherichia coli.


Elastase was unchanged with ceftazidime. Elastase was reduced by 16% at 6% MIC tobramycin and reduced by 70% at 25% MIC tobramycin (P<0.0001). As a percentage of control, C12-HSL was mean 69.4% (SEM 7.3%) at 6% MIC tobramycin, and 31.7% (3.3%) at 25% MIC tobramycin (P=0.0001). C12-HSL was 78.9% (5.3%) at 6% MIC ceftazidime and was 29.7% (1.8%) at 25% MIC ceftazidime (P=0.0001). Both ceftazidime and tobramycin were associated with reduced C4-HSL at 6% MIC and 25% MIC (P<0.03).


SubMIC tobramycin but not ceftazidime reduced elastase production by P. aeruginosa. In contrast, subMIC concentrations of both antimicrobials reduced C12-HSL and C4-HSL. It is unlikely that reduced HSL is the sole explanation for the reduction in elastase.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

Supplemental Content

Loading ...
Support Center