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Sex Transm Dis. 1998 Oct;25(9):489-93.

Analysis of quinolone resistance mechanisms in a sparfloxacin-resistant clinical isolate of Neisseria gonorrhoeae.

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Department of Urology, Faculty of Medicine, Kyushu University, Japan.



Recently, a reduction in the susceptibility of clinical isolates of Neisseria gonorrhoeae to newer fluoroquinolones including sparfloxacin in vitro has been recognized in Japan. The quinolone resistance mechanisms in gonococcal isolates from a patient with clinical failure of sparfloxacin treatment was investigated.


To report a man with gonococcal urethritis in whom clinical failure of sparfloxacin treatment occurred and to examine the quinolone resistance mechanisms in gonococcal isolates from the patient.


A man with gonococcal urethritis was treated with oral 100 mg sparfloxacin three times daily for 5 days. However, clinical failure of the sparfloxacin treatment was observed. The antimicrobial susceptibilities of pretreatment and posttreatment isolates to sparfloxacin and other agents were measured. To analyze quinolone resistance mechanisms in the set of isolates, DNA sequencing of the genes corresponding to the quinolone resistance-determining regions within the GyrA and ParC proteins was performed. We also assayed the intracellular sparfloxacin accumulation level in these gonococcal cells. Moreover, we performed pulsed-field gel electrophoresis analysis to determine whether the pretreatment and posttreatment isolates were isogenic.


The minimum inhibitory concentration of sparfloxacin for the posttreatment isolate (4 micrograms/ml) was 16 times higher than that for the pretreatment isolate (0.25 microgram/ml). The pretreatment isolate contained three mutations, including a Ser-91 to Phe mutation and an Asp-95 to Asn mutation in GyrA and a Ser-88 to Pro mutation in ParC. The posttreatment isolate had four mutations, including the same three mutations and an additional Glu-91 to Gly mutation in ParC. The sparfloxacin accumulation level within 30 minutes in the posttreatment isolate was four times less than that in the pretreatment isolate. There were no differences in the pulsed-field gel electrophoresis patterns between the pretreatment and posttreatment isolates from the patient.


The emergence of a fluoroquinolone-resistant N. gonorrhoeae isolate with multiple mutations involving GyrA and ParC reduced the response to sparfloxacin treatment. Multiple dosing and long-term treatment with sparfloxacin seems to induce a mutation in ParC and an alteration leading to reduced drug accumulation that contribute to increasing the fluoroquinolone resistance level.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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