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Int J Mycobacteriol. 2018 Apr-Jun;7(2):156-161. doi: 10.4103/ijmy.ijmy_33_18.

Mycobacterium tuberculosis Strains H37ra and H37rv have equivalent minimum inhibitory concentrations to most antituberculosis drugs.

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Department of Pharmaceutics, University of Florida; Emerging Pathogens Institute; Infectious Disease Pharmacokinetics Laboratory, Gainesville, Florida, USA.
Emerging Pathogens Institute, University of Florida, Florida, USA.
Department of Pharmaceutics, University of Florida, Gainesville, Florida, USA.
Department of Pharmaceutics, University of Florida; Emerging Pathogens Institute, Gainesville, Florida, USA.
Emerging Pathogens Institute, University of Florida; Infectious Disease Pharmacokinetics Laboratory; Department of Pharmacotherapy and Translational Research, Gainesville, Florida, USA.



Mycobacterium tuberculosis (Mtb) strains H37Ra and H37Rv are commonly used to study new and re-evaluate old antituberculous agents with respect to their pharmacodynamic effects in vitro. The differences in membrane proteins and, in particular, differences in carrier proteins between Mtb H37Ra and Mtb H37Rv may have an impact on antibiotic potency. The question of whether H37Ra can be used as a reliable surrogate for H37Rv and clinical strains has not been addressed sufficiently. The purpose of this study is to provide a full comparison of susceptibility data of the most common antituberculosis (TB) agents against both Mtb strains.


In addition to a literature review, in vitro checkerboard susceptibility study was conducted comparing the in vitro minimum inhibitory concentration (MIC) of 16 common antituberculous drugs against H37Ra and H37Rv. Heifets-Sanchez TB agar drug susceptibility plates were utilized.


Half of the antibiotics demonstrated similar growth inhibition against both strains, while slightly differing MIC values were found for 7 of 16 drugs. With the exception of rifampicin, no marked difference in MIC against H37Ra and H37Rv was observed.


While neither the attenuated (H37Ra) nor the virulent strain (H37Rv) is a clinical strain, both strains predicted MICs of clinical isolates equally well, when comparing the current in vitro results to clinical susceptibility data in the literature. H37Ra comes with the benefits of lower experimental costs and less administrative barriers including the requirement of a biosafety Level III environment.


Attenuated strain H37Ra; Mycobacterium tuberculosis; minimum inhibitory concentration; pharmacodynamics; virulent strain H37Rv

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