Acanthamoeba keratitis is a serious infection with blinding consequences and often associated with contact lens wear. Early diagnosis, followed by aggressive topical application of drugs, is a prerequisite in successful treatment, but even then prognosis remains poor. Several drugs have shown promise, including chlorhexidine gluconate; however, host cell toxicity at physiologically relevant concentrations remains a challenge. Nanoparticles, subcolloidal structures ranging in size from 10 to 100 nm, are effective drug carriers for enhancing drug potency. The overall aim of the present study was to determine whether conjugation with gold nanoparticles enhances the antiacanthamoebic potential of chlorhexidine. Gold-conjugated chlorhexidine nanoparticles were synthesized. Briefly, gold solution was mixed with chlorhexidine and reduced by adding sodium borohydride, resulting in an intense deep red color, indicative of colloidal gold-conjugated chlorhexidine nanoparticles. The synthesis was confirmed using UV-visible spectrophotometry that shows a plasmon resonance peak of 500 to 550 nm, indicative of gold nanoparticles. Further characterization using matrix-assisted laser desorption ionization-mass spectrometry showed a gold-conjugated chlorhexidine complex at m/z 699 ranging in size from 20 to 100 nm, as determined using atomic force microscopy. To determine the amoebicidal and amoebistatic effects, amoebae were incubated with gold-conjugated chlorhexidine nanoparticles. For controls, amoebae also were incubated with gold and silver nanoparticles alone, chlorhexidine alone, neomycin-conjugated nanoparticles, and neomycin alone. The findings showed that gold-conjugated chlorhexidine nanoparticles exhibited significant amoebicidal and amoebistatic effects at 5 μM. Amoebicidal effects were observed by parasite viability testing using a Trypan blue exclusion assay and flow-cytometric analysis using propidium iodide, while amoebistatic effects were observed using growth assays. In contrast, chlorhexidine alone, at a similar concentration, showed limited effects. Notably, neomycin alone or conjugated with nanoparticles did not show amoebicidal or amoebistatic effects. Pretreatment of A. castellanii with gold-conjugated chlorhexidine nanoparticles reduced amoeba-mediated host cell cytotoxicity from 90% to 40% at 5 μM. In contrast, chlorhexidine alone, at similar concentrations, had no protective effects for the host cells. Similarly, amoebae treated with neomycin alone or neomycin-conjugated nanoparticles showed no protective effects. Overall, these findings suggest that gold-conjugated chlorhexidine nanoparticles hold promise in the improved treatment of A. castellanii keratitis.
Acinetobacter baumannii has emerged as a notorious multidrug-resistant pathogen, and development of novel control measures is of the utmost importance. Understanding the factors that play a role in drug resistance may contribute to the identification of novel therapeutic targets. Pili are essential for A. baumannii adherence to and biofilm formation on abiotic surfaces as well as virulence. In the present study, we found that biofilm formation was significantly induced in an imipenem-resistant (Imp(r)) strain treated with a subinhibitory concentration of antibiotic compared to that in an untreated control and an imipenem-susceptible (Imp(s)) isolate. Using microarray and quantitative PCR analyses, we observed that several genes responsible for the synthesis of type IV pili were significantly upregulated in the Imp(r) but not in the Imp(s) isolate. Notably, this finding is corroborated by an increase in the motility of the Imp(r) strain. Our results suggest that the ability to overproduce colonization factors in response to imipenem treatment confers biological advantage to A. baumannii and may contribute to clinical success.
Polymyxins are used as a last-line therapy against multidrug-resistant (MDR) New Delhi metallo-β-lactamase (NDM)-producing Klebsiella pneumoniae However, polymyxin resistance can emerge with monotherapy; therefore, novel strategies are urgently needed to minimize the resistance and maintain their clinical utility. This study aimed to investigate the pharmacodynamics of polymyxin B in combination with the antiretroviral drug zidovudine against K. pneumoniae Three isolates were evaluated in static time-kill studies (0 to 64 mg/liter) over 48 h. An in vitro one-compartment pharmacokinetic/pharmacodynamic (PK/PD) model (IVM) was used to simulate humanized dosage regimens of polymyxin B (4 mg/liter as continuous infusion) and zidovudine (as bolus dose thrice daily to achieve maximum concentration of drug in broth [Cmax] of 6 mg/liter) against K. pneumoniae BM1 over 72 h. The antimicrobial synergy of the combination was further evaluated in a murine thigh infection model against K. pneumoniae 02. In the static time-kill studies, polymyxin B monotherapy produced rapid and extensive killing against all three isolates followed by extensive regrowth, whereas zidovudine produced modest killing followed by significant regrowth at 24 h. Polymyxin B in combination with zidovudine significantly enhanced the antimicrobial activity (≥4 log10 CFU/ml) and minimized bacterial regrowth. In the IVM, the combination was synergistic and the total bacterial loads were below the limit of detection for up to 72 h. In the murine thigh infection model, the bacterial burden at 24 h in the combination group was ≥3 log10 CFU/thigh lower than each monotherapy against K. pneumoniae 02. Overall, the polymyxin B-zidovudine combination demonstrates superior antimicrobial efficacy and minimized emergence of resistance to polymyxins.
Meropenem-vaborbactam resistance in Klebsiella pneumoniae isolates is associated with loss-of-function mutations in the OmpK35 and OmpK36 porins. We identify two previously unknown loss-of-function mutations that confer cefuroxime resistance in K. pneumoniae isolates. The proteins lost were NlpD and KvrA; the latter is a transcriptional repressor that controls capsule production. We demonstrate that KvrA loss reduces OmpK35 and OmpK36 porin production, which confers reduced susceptibility to meropenem-vaborbactam in a KPC-3-producing K. pneumoniae isolate.
Antimicrobial peptides (AMPs) are expressed in various living organisms as first-line host defenses against potential harmful encounters in their surroundings. AMPs are short polycationic peptides exhibiting various antimicrobial activities. The principal antibacterial activity is attributed to the membrane-lytic mechanism which directly interferes with the integrity of the bacterial cell membrane and cell wall. In addition, a number of AMPs form a transmembrane channel in the membrane by self-aggregation or polymerization, leading to cytoplasm leakage and cell death. However, an increasing body of evidence has demonstrated that AMPs are able to exert intracellular inhibitory activities as the primary or supportive mechanisms to achieve efficient killing. In this review, we focus on the major intracellular targeting activities reported in AMPs, which include nucleic acids and protein biosynthesis and protein-folding, protease, cell division, cell wall biosynthesis, and lipopolysaccharide inhibition. These multifunctional AMPs could serve as the potential lead peptides for the future development of novel antibacterial agents with improved therapeutic profiles.
Fluoroquinolone resistance in Gram-negative bacteria is multifactorial, involving target site mutations, reductions in fluoroquinolone entry due to reduced porin production, increased fluoroquinolone efflux, enzymes that modify fluoroquinolones, and Qnr, a DNA mimic that protects the drug target from fluoroquinolone binding. Here we report a comprehensive analysis, using transformation and in vitro mutant selection, of the relative importance of each of these mechanisms for fluoroquinolone nonsusceptibility using Klebsiella pneumoniae as a model system. Our improved biological understanding was then used to generate 47 rules that can predict fluoroquinolone susceptibility in K. pneumoniae clinical isolates. Key to the success of this predictive process was the use of liquid chromatography-tandem mass spectrometry to measure the abundance of proteins in extracts of cultured bacteria, identifying which sequence variants seen in the whole-genome sequence data were functionally important in the context of fluoroquinolone susceptibility.
trans-Cinnamic acid (CA) is a natural organic compound. Using amoebicidal assays, for the first time we showed that CA affected the viability of the protist pathogen Acanthamoeba castellanii Conjugation with gold nanoparticles (AuNPs) enhanced the antiamoebic effects of CA. CA-coated AuNPs (CA-AuNPs) also exhibited significant excystation and encystation activity, compared to CA and AuNPs alone. Pretreatment of amoebae with CA-AuNPs inhibited A. castellanii-mediated host cell cytotoxicity. Moreover, CA-AuNPs exhibited potent effects against methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus and neuropathogenic Escherichia coli K1 and protected host cells against bacteria-mediated host cell death.
Melioidosis is a potentially fatal disease caused by the saprophytic bacterium Burkholderia pseudomallei. Resistance to gentamicin is generally a hallmark of B. pseudomallei, and gentamicin is a selective agent in media used for diagnosis of melioidosis. In this study, we determined the prevalence and mechanism of gentamicin susceptibility found in B. pseudomallei isolates from Sarawak, Malaysian Borneo. We performed multilocus sequence typing and antibiotic susceptibility testing on 44 B. pseudomallei clinical isolates from melioidosis patients in Sarawak district hospitals. Whole-genome sequencing was used to identify the mechanism of gentamicin susceptibility. A novel allelic-specific PCR was designed to differentiate gentamicin-sensitive isolates from wild-type B. pseudomallei. A reversion assay was performed to confirm the involvement of this mechanism in gentamicin susceptibility. A substantial proportion (86%) of B. pseudomallei clinical isolates in Sarawak, Malaysian Borneo, were found to be susceptible to the aminoglycoside gentamicin, a rare occurrence in other regions where B. pseudomallei is endemic. Gentamicin sensitivity was restricted to genetically related strains belonging to sequence type 881 or its single-locus variant, sequence type 997. Whole-genome sequencing identified a novel nonsynonymous mutation within amrB, encoding an essential component of the AmrAB-OprA multidrug efflux pump. We confirmed the role of this mutation in conferring aminoglycoside and macrolide sensitivity by reversion of this mutation to the wild-type sequence. Our study demonstrates that alternative B. pseudomallei selective media without gentamicin are needed for accurate melioidosis laboratory diagnosis in Sarawak. This finding may also have implications for environmental sampling of other locations to test for B. pseudomallei endemicity.
In this surveillance study, we identified the genotypes, carbapenem resistance determinants, and structural variations of AbaR-type resistance islands among carbapenem-resistant Acinetobacter baumannii (CRAB) isolates from nine Asian locales. Clonal complex 92 (CC92), corresponding to global clone 2 (GC2), was the most prevalent in most Asian locales (83/108 isolates; 76.9%). CC108, or GC1, was a predominant clone in India. OXA-23 oxacillinase was detected in CRAB isolates from most Asian locales except Taiwan. blaOXA-24 was found in CRAB isolates from Taiwan. AbaR4-type resistance islands, which were divided into six subtypes, were identified in most CRAB isolates investigated. Five isolates from India, Malaysia, Singapore, and Hong Kong contained AbaR3-type resistance islands. Of these, three isolates harbored both AbaR3- and AbaR4-type resistance islands simultaneously. In this study, GC2 was revealed as a prevalent clone in most Asian locales, with the AbaR4-type resistance island predominant, with diverse variants. The significance of this study lies in identifying the spread of global clones of carbapenem-resistant A. baumannii in Asia.
Toxoplasma gondii is a parasite that generates latent cysts in the brain; reactivation of these cysts may lead to fatal toxoplasmic encephalitis, for which treatment remains unsuccessful. We assessed spiramycin pharmacokinetics coadministered with metronidazole, the eradication of brain cysts and the in vitro reactivation. Male BALB/c mice were fed 1,000 tachyzoites orally to develop chronic toxoplasmosis. Four weeks later, infected mice underwent different treatments: (i) infected untreated mice (n = 9), which received vehicle only; (ii) a spiramycin-only group (n = 9), 400 mg/kg daily for 7 days; (iii) a metronidazole-only group (n = 9), 500 mg/kg daily for 7 days; and (iv) a combination group (n = 9), which received both spiramycin (400 mg/kg) and metronidazole (500 mg/kg) daily for 7 days. An uninfected control group (n = 10) was administered vehicle only. After treatment, the brain cysts were counted, brain homogenates were cultured in confluent Vero cells, and cysts and tachyzoites were counted after 1 week. Separately, pharmacokinetic profiles (plasma and brain) were assessed after a single dose of spiramycin (400 mg/kg), metronidazole (500 mg/kg), or both. Metronidazole treatment increased the brain spiramycin area under the concentration-time curve from 0 h to ∞ (AUC(0-∞)) by 67% without affecting its plasma disposition. Metronidazole plasma and brain AUC(0-∞) values were reduced 9 and 62%, respectively, after spiramycin coadministration. Enhanced spiramycin brain exposure after coadministration reduced brain cysts 15-fold (79 ± 23 for the combination treatment versus 1,198 ± 153 for the untreated control group [P < 0.05]) and 10-fold versus the spiramycin-only group (768 ± 125). Metronidazole alone showed no effect (1,028 ± 149). Tachyzoites were absent in the brain. Spiramycin reduced in vitro reactivation. Metronidazole increased spiramycin brain penetration, causing a significant reduction of T. gondii brain cysts, with potential clinical translatability for chronic toxoplasmosis treatment.
Malaysian, TGR (Thailand), and Gambian (West African) Plasmodium falciparum isolates were cultured in vitro by the candle jar method and were characterized for their susceptibilities to present antimalarial drugs by the modified in vitro microtechnique. Results showed that 93 and 47% of the Malaysian isolates were resistant at 50% inhibitory concentrations of 0.1415 to 0.7737 and 0.1025 to 0.1975 microM, respectively, while the rest were susceptible to choloroquine and cycloguanil at 0.0376 and 0.0306 to 0.0954 microM, respectively. All isolates were susceptible to mefloquine, quinine, and pyrimethamine at 0.0026 to 0.0172, 0.0062 to 0.0854, and 0.0149 to 0.0663 microM, respectively. In contrast, the Gambian isolate was susceptible to multiple drugs at 0.0024 to 0.0282 microM; TGR was resistant to chloroquine at 0.8147 microM but was susceptible to mefloquine, quinine, cycloguanil, and pyrimethamine at 0.0024, 0.0096, 0.0143, and 0.0495 microM, respectively.
Twenty participants undergoing elective cataract surgery received 1% voriconazole eye drops (1 drop per eye) either 20, 40, 60, or 80 min before surgery. Median voriconazole concentrations of 1.9 to 3.2 mg/liter in aqueous humor samples were attained over the first 80 min, which were higher than in vitro MIC90 values for typical fungi that cause keratitis.
For the past several decades, there has been little improvement in the morbidity and mortality associated with Acanthamoeba keratitis and Acanthamoeba encephalitis, respectively. The discovery of a plethora of antiacanthamoebic compounds has not yielded effective marketed chemotherapeutics. The rate of development of novel antiacanthamoebic chemotherapies of translational value and the lack of interest of the pharmaceutical industry in developing such chemotherapies have been disappointing. On the other hand, the market for contact lenses/contact lens disinfectants is a multi-billion-dollar industry and has been successful and profitable. A better understanding of drugs, their targets, and mechanisms of action will facilitate the development of more-effective chemotherapies. Here, we review the progress toward phenotypic drug discovery, emphasizing the shortcomings of useable therapies.
Plasmids of incompatibility group A/C (IncA/C) are becoming increasingly prevalent within pathogenic Enterobacteriaceae They are associated with the dissemination of multiple clinically relevant resistance genes, including blaCMY and blaNDM Current typing methods for IncA/C plasmids offer limited resolution. In this study, we present the complete sequence of a blaNDM-1-positive IncA/C plasmid, pMS6198A, isolated from a multidrug-resistant uropathogenic Escherichia coli strain. Hypersaturated transposon mutagenesis, coupled with transposon-directed insertion site sequencing (TraDIS), was employed to identify conserved genetic elements required for replication and maintenance of pMS6198A. Our analysis of TraDIS data identified roles for the replicon, including repA, a toxin-antitoxin system; two putative partitioning genes, parAB; and a putative gene, 053 Construction of mini-IncA/C plasmids and examination of their stability within E. coli confirmed that the region encompassing 053 contributes to the stable maintenance of IncA/C plasmids. Subsequently, the four major maintenance genes (repA, parAB, and 053) were used to construct a new plasmid multilocus sequence typing (PMLST) scheme for IncA/C plasmids. Application of this scheme to a database of 82 IncA/C plasmids identified 11 unique sequence types (STs), with two dominant STs. The majority of blaNDM-positive plasmids examined (15/17; 88%) fall into ST1, suggesting acquisition and subsequent expansion of this blaNDM-containing plasmid lineage. The IncA/C PMLST scheme represents a standardized tool to identify, track, and analyze the dissemination of important IncA/C plasmid lineages, particularly in the context of epidemiological studies.
Doripenem has been recently introduced in Malaysia and is used for severe infections in the intensive care unit. However, limited data currently exist to guide optimal dosing in this scenario. We aimed to describe the population pharmacokinetics of doripenem in Malaysian critically ill patients with sepsis and use Monte Carlo dosing simulations to develop clinically relevant dosing guidelines for these patients. In this pharmacokinetic study, 12 critically ill adult patients with sepsis receiving 500 mg of doripenem every 8 h as a 1-hour infusion were enrolled. Serial blood samples were collected on 2 different days, and population pharmacokinetic analysis was performed using a nonlinear mixed-effects modeling approach. A two-compartment linear model with between-subject and between-occasion variability on clearance was adequate in describing the data. The typical volume of distribution and clearance of doripenem in this cohort were 0.47 liters/kg and 0.14 liters/kg/h, respectively. Doripenem clearance was significantly influenced by patients' creatinine clearance (CL(CR)), such that a 30-ml/min increase in the estimated CL(CR) would increase doripenem CL by 52%. Monte Carlo dosing simulations suggested that, for pathogens with a MIC of 8 mg/liter, a dose of 1,000 mg every 8 h as a 4-h infusion is optimal for patients with a CL(CR) of 30 to 100 ml/min, while a dose of 2,000 mg every 8 h as a 4-h infusion is best for patients manifesting a CL(CR) of >100 ml/min. Findings from this study suggest that, for doripenem usage in Malaysian critically ill patients, an alternative dosing approach may be meritorious, particularly when multidrug resistance pathogens are involved.
The pharmacokinetics of sublingual artemether (ArTiMist) was investigated in two open-label studies. In study 1, 16 healthy males were randomized to each of four single-dose treatments administered in random order: (i) 15.0 mg of sublingual artemether (5 × 3.0 actuations), (ii) 30.0 mg of sublingual artemether (10 × 3.0 mg), (iii) 30.0 mg of sublingual artemether (5 × 6.0 mg), and (iv) 30.0 mg of artemether in tablet form. In study 2, 16 healthy males were randomized to eight 30.0-mg doses of sublingual artemether given over 5 days as either 10 3.0-mg or 5 6.0-mg actuations. Frequent blood samples were drawn postdose. Plasma artemether and dihydroartemisinin levels were measured using liquid chromatography-mass spectrometry. Population compartmental pharmacokinetic models were developed. In study 1, sublingual artemether absorption was biphasic, with both rate constants being greater than that of the artemether tablets (1.46 and 1.66 versus 0.43/h, respectively). Relative to the tablets, sublingual artemether had greater bioavailability (≥1.24), with the greatest relative bioavailability occurring in the 30.0-mg dose groups (≥1.58). In study 2, there was evidence that the first absorption phase accounted for between 32% and 69% of the total dose and avoided first-pass (FP) metabolism, with an increase in FP metabolism occurring in later versus earlier doses but with no difference in bioavailability between the dose actuations. Sublingual artemether is more rapidly and completely absorbed than are equivalent doses of artemether tablets in healthy adults. Its disposition appears to be complex, with two absorption phases, the first representing pregastrointestinal absorption, as well as dose-dependent bioavailability and autoinduction of metabolism with multiple dosing.
Spider venoms are vast natural pharmacopoeias selected by evolution. The venom of the ant spider Lachesana tarabaevi contains a wide variety of antimicrobial peptides. We tested six of them (latarcins 1, 2a, 3a, 4b, 5, and cytoinsectotoxin 1a) for their ability to suppress Chlamydia trachomatis infection. HEK293 cells were transfected with plasmid vectors harboring the genes of the selected peptides. Controlled expression of the transgenes led to a significant decrease of C. trachomatis viability inside the infected cells.
The emergence and spread of drug-resistant Plasmodium falciparum have been a major impediment for the control of malaria worldwide. Earlier studies have shown that similar to chloroquine (CQ) resistance, high levels of pyrimethamine resistance in P. falciparum originated independently 4 to 5 times globally, including one origin at the Thailand-Cambodia border. In this study we describe the origins and spread of sulfadoxine-resistance-conferring dihydropteroate synthase (dhps) alleles in Thailand. The dhps mutations and flanking microsatellite loci were genotyped for P. falciparum isolates collected from 11 Thai provinces along the Burma, Cambodia, and Malaysia borders. Results indicated that resistant dhps alleles were fixed in Thailand, predominantly being the SGEGA, AGEAA, and SGNGA triple mutants and the AGKAA double mutant (mutated codons are underlined). These alleles had different geographical distributions. The SGEGA alleles were found mostly at the Burma border, while the SGNGA alleles occurred mainly at the Cambodia border and nearby provinces. Microsatellite data suggested that there were two major genetic lineages of the triple mutants in Thailand, one common for SGEGA/SGNGA alleles and another one independent for AGEAA. Importantly, the newly reported SGNGA alleles possibly originated at the Thailand-Cambodia border. All parasites in the Yala province (Malaysia border) had AGKAA alleles with almost identical flanking microsatellites haplotypes. They were also identical at putatively neutral loci on chromosomes 2 and 3, suggesting a clonal nature of the parasite population in Yala. In summary, this study suggests multiple and independent origins of resistant dhps alleles in Thailand.
The present study determined the pharmacokinetic profile of vancomycin in premature Malaysian infants. A one-compartment infusion model with first-order elimination was fitted to serum vancomycin concentration data (n = 835 points) obtained retrospectively from the drug monitoring records of 116 premature newborn infants. Vancomycin concentrations were estimated by a fluorescence polarization immunoassay. Population and individual estimates of clearance and distribution volume and the factors which affected the variability observed for the values of these parameters were obtained using a population pharmacokinetic modeling approach. The predictive performance of the population model was evaluated by visual inspections of diagnostic plots and nonparametric bootstrapping with replacement. Dosing guidelines targeting a value of > or =400 for the area under the concentration-time curve over 24 h in the steady state divided by the MIC (AUC(24)/MIC ratio) were explored using Monte Carlo simulation. Body size (weight), postmenstrual age, and small-for-gestational-age status are important factors explaining the between-subject variability of vancomycin pharmacokinetic parameter values for premature neonates. The typical population parameter estimates of clearance and distribution volume for a 1-kg premature appropriate-for-gestational-age neonate with a postmenstrual age of 30 weeks were 0.0426 liters/h and 0.523 liters, respectively. There was a 20% reduction in clearance for small-for-gestational-age infants compared to the level for the appropriate-for-gestational-age control. Dosage regimens based on a priori target response values were formulated. In conclusion, the pharmacokinetic parameter values for vancomycin in premature Malaysian neonates were estimated. Improved dosage regimens based on a priori target response values were formulated by incorporating body size, postmenstrual age, and small-for-gestational-age status, using Monte Carlo simulations with the model-estimated pharmacokinetic parameter values.