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Int J Tuberc Lung Dis. 2006 Mar;10(3):317-22.

Sterilising action of pyrazinamide in models of dormant and rifampicin-tolerant Mycobacterium tuberculosis.

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Department of Cellular and Molecular Medicine, St George's, University of London, London, United Kingdom.



Pyrazinamide (PZA) is an effective sterilising drug in tuberculosis, but its mode of action is controversial.


To test the bactericidal activity of 1.56-100 microg/ml PZA in Hu/Coates models of dormant and rifampicin (RMP) tolerant Mycobacterium tuberculosis.


In model 1, bactericidal activity was tested in pH 5.5 medium against 4-day, 30-day or 100-day static, hypoxic cultures. In models 2 and 3, 100 microg/ml RMP was added to a 100-day culture and PZA was added either during incubation with RMP in model 3, or after resuspension in RMP-free medium in model 2.


Model 1: cfu counts on the 100-day and 30-day cultures fell by a maximum of about 1.6 log cfu/ml with increasing culture age, PZA concentration and incubation period, while counts on the 4-day culture showed little change. Model 2: cfu counts at the end of 7 days of recovery showed little bactericidal activity. Model 3: viable bacilli were almost completely eliminated. Bactericidal activity in these models increased with decreasing metabolic bactericidal activity, as measured by the uptake of [3H] uridine into bacterial RNA.


PZA differs from other anti-tuberculosis drugs in showing greater bactericidal activity the slower the bacillary metabolic activity, hence its great value as a sterilising drug, likely to remain as an effective companion drug with newer sterilising drugs.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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