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Clin Infect Dis. 2012 Aug;55(4):534-42. doi: 10.1093/cid/cis473. Epub 2012 May 9.

Increased susceptibility of Pseudomonas aeruginosa to macrolides and ketolides in eukaryotic cell culture media and biological fluids due to decreased expression of oprM and increased outer-membrane permeability.

Author information

1
Pharmacologie cellulaire et moléculaire, Louvain Drug Research Institute, Université catholique de Louvain, Bruxelles, Belgium.

Abstract

BACKGROUND:

Macrolides show high minimum inhibitory concentrations (MICs) against Pseudomonas aeruginosa when tested in recommended media (cation-adjusted Muller-Hinton broth [CA-MHB]). Nevertheless, azithromycin is successfully used in cystic fibrosis patients, supposedly because of "nonantibiotic effects."

METHODS:

CA-MHB and Roswell Park Memorial Institute (RPMI) 1640 medium (used for growing eukaryotic cells) were compared for measuring azithromycin MICs (with or without Phe-Arg-β-naphthylamide [PAβN], an efflux inhibitor), [(14)C]-clarithromycin accumulation, azithromycin-induced protein synthesis inhibition, oprM (encoding the outer-membrane protein coupled with MexAB and MexXY efflux systems) expression, outer-membrane permeability (tested with 1-N-phenylnaphthylamine and nitrocefin), and synergy (determined by checkerboard assay) between azithromycin and outer-membrane disrupting agents. Key experiments were repeated with CA-MHB supplemented with serum, mouse bronchoalveolar lavage fluid, other macrolides, and other gram-negative bacteria.

RESULTS:

Azithromycin MICs were ≥128 mg/L in CA-MHB, compared with 1-16 mg/L in RPMI 1640 medium, CA-MHB supplemented with serum, or bronchoalveolar lavage fluid (repeated for RPMI 1640 medium with clarithromycin, other macrolides, and other gram-negative bacteria). [(14)C]-clarithromycin accumulation was 2.2-fold higher in RPMI 1640 medium, compared with CA-MHB. Inhibition of >95% of protein synthesis was obtained with azithromycin at 16 mg/L in RPMI 1640 medium, compared with >512 mg/L in CA-MHB. Strains not expressing oprM showed an MIC of 4 mg/L in CA-MHB. PAβN decreased MICs in CA-MHB but not in RPMI 1640 medium. Real-time polymerase chain reaction showed downregulation of oprM by azithromycin in RPMI 1640 medium. Outer-membrane permeability was 3-4.5 times higher in RPMI 1640 medium or bronchoalveolar lavage fluid, compared with CA-MHB. Azithromycin combined with outer-membrane disrupting agents were synergistic in CA-MHB but indifferent in RPMI 1640 medium.

CONCLUSIONS:

Macrolides show antimicrobial activity against P. aeruginosa in eukaryotic media through increased uptake and reduced efflux. These data may help explain the clinical efficacy of macrolides against pseudomonal infections.

PMID:
22573850
DOI:
10.1093/cid/cis473
[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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