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1.  Relationship between Ceftolozane-Tazobactam Exposure and Selection for Pseudomonas aeruginosa Resistance in a Hollow-Fiber Infection Model 
Antimicrobial Agents and Chemotherapy  2014;58(10):6024-6031.
It is important to understand the relationship between antibiotic exposure and the selection of drug resistance in the context of therapy exposure. We sought to identify the ceftolozane-tazobactam exposure necessary to prevent the amplification of drug-resistant bacterial subpopulations in a hollow-fiber infection model. Two Pseudomonas aeruginosa challenge isolates were selected for study, a wild-type ATCC strain (ceftolozane-tazobactam MIC, 0.5 mg/liter) and a clinical isolate (ceftolozane-tazobactam MIC, 4 mg/liter). The experiment duration was 10 days, and the ceftolozane-tazobactam dose ratio (2:1) and dosing interval (every 8 h) were selected to approximate those expected to be used clinically. The studied ceftolozane-tazobactam dosing regimens ranged from 62.5/31.25 to 2,000/1,000 mg per dose in step fold dilutions. Negative-control arms included no treatment and tazobactam at 500 mg every 8 h. Positive-control arms included ceftolozane at 1 g every 8 h and piperacillin-tazobactam dosed at 4.5 g every 6 h. For the wild-type ATCC strain, resistance was not selected by any ceftolozane-tazobactam regimen evaluated. For the clinical isolate, an inverted-U-shaped function best described the relationship between the amplification of a drug-resistant subpopulation and drug exposure. The least (62.5/31.25 mg) and most (2,000/1,000 mg) intensive ceftolozane-tazobactam dosing regimens did not select for drug resistance. Drug resistance selection was observed with intermediately intensive dosing regimens (125/62.5 through 1,000/500 mg). For the intermediately intensive ceftolozane-tazobactam dosing regimens, the duration until the selection for drug resistance increased with dose regimen intensity. These data support the selection of ceftolozane-tazobactam dosing regimens that minimize the potential for on-therapy drug resistance selection.
PMCID: PMC4187943  PMID: 25070105
2.  Prevalence of Cryptococcus neoformans var. neoformans (Serotype D) and Cryptococcus neoformans var. grubii (Serotype A) Isolates in New York City 
Journal of Clinical Microbiology  2000;38(5):1974-1976.
Analysis of 40 New York City Cryptococcus neoformans isolates revealed that 39 were typeable, of which 85 and 12.5% were Cryptococcus neoformans var. grubii (serotype A) and Cryptococcus neoformans var. neoformans (serotype D), respectively. The prevalence of serotype D isolates in New York City appears to be significantly higher than indicated by previous studies of North American isolates.
PMCID: PMC86639  PMID: 10790132
3.  Pharmacological Basis of β-Lactamase Inhibitor Therapeutics: Tazobactam in Combination with Ceftolozane 
Antimicrobial Agents and Chemotherapy  2013;57(12):5924-5930.
We recently investigated the pharmacokinetics-pharmacodynamics (PK-PD) of tazobactam in combination with ceftolozane against an isogenic CTX-M-15-producing Escherichia coli triplet set, genetically engineered to transcribe different levels of blaCTX-M-15. The percentage of the dosing interval that tazobactam concentrations remained above a threshold (%Time>threshold) was identified as the PK-PD exposure measure that was most closely associated with efficacy. Moreover, the tazobactam concentration was dependent upon the enzyme transcription level. Given that the aforementioned strains were genetically engineered to transcribe a single β-lactamase enzyme and that clinical isolates typically produce multiple β-lactamase enzymes with various transcription levels, it is likely that the tazobactam threshold concentration is isolate/enzyme dependent. Our first objective was to characterize the relationship between the tazobactam %Time>threshold in combination with ceftolozane and efficacy using clinical isolates in an in vitro PK-PD infection model. Our second objective was to identify a translational relationship that would allow for the comodeling across clinical isolates. The initial challenge panel included four well-characterized β-lactamase-producing E. coli strains with variable enzyme expression and other resistance determinants. As evidenced by r2 values of ranging from 0.90 to 0.99 for each clinical isolate, the observed data were well described by fitted functions describing the relationship between the tazobactam %Time>threshold and change in log10 CFU from baseline; however, the data from the four isolates did not comodel well. The threshold concentration identified for each isolate ranged from 0.5 to 4 mg/liter. We identified an enabling translational relationship for the tazobactam threshold that allowed comodeling of all four clinical isolates, which was the product of the individual isolate's ceftolozane-tazobactam MIC value and 0.5. As evidenced by an r2 value of 0.90, the transformed data were well described by a fitted function describing the relationship between tazobactam %Time>threshold and change in log10 CFU from baseline. Due to these findings, the challenge panel was expanded to include three well-characterized β-lactamase-producing Klebsiella pneumoniae strains with variable enzyme expression and other resistance determinants. The translational relationship for the tazobactam threshold that allowed for the comodeling of the four E. coli isolates performed well for the expanded data set (seven isolates in total; four E. coli and three K. pneumoniae), as evidenced by an r2 value of 0.84. This simple translational relationship is especially useful as it is directly linked to in vitro susceptibility test results, which are used to guide the clinician's choice of drug and dosing regimen.
PMCID: PMC3837916  PMID: 24041895
4.  Pharmacokinetics-Pharmacodynamics of Tazobactam in Combination with Ceftolozane in an In Vitro Infection Model 
Despite β-lactamase inhibitors being available for clinical use for nearly 30 years, a paucity of data exists describing the pharmacokinetic-pharmacodynamic (PK-PD) determinants of efficacy for these agents. Herein, we describe dose fractionation studies designed to determine the exposure measure most predictive of tazobactam efficacy in combination with ceftolozane and the magnitude of this measure necessary for efficacy in a PK-PD in vitro infection model. The challenge organism panel was comprised of an isogenic CTX-M-15-producing Escherichia coli triplet set, genetically engineered to transcribe different levels of blaCTX-M-15. These recombinant strains exhibited ceftolozane MIC values of 4, 16, and 64 μg/ml representing low, moderate, and high levels of CTX-M-15, respectively. Different blaCTX-M-15 transcription levels were confirmed by relative quantitative real-time PCR (qRT-PCR) and β-lactamase hydrolytic assays. The exposure measure associated with efficacy was the percentage of the dosing interval that tazobactam concentrations remained above a threshold (%Time>threshold), regardless of enzyme expression (r2 = 0.938). The threshold concentrations identified were 0.05 μg/ml for low and moderate and 0.25 μg/ml for the high-β-lactamase expression strain constructs. The magnitudes of %Time>threshold for tazobactam associated with net bacterial stasis and a 1- and 2-log10 CFU reduction in bacteria at 24 h were approximately 35, 50, and 70%, respectively. These data provide an initial target tazobactam concentration-time profile and a paradigm to optimize tazobactam dosing when combined with ceftolozane.
PMCID: PMC3716129  PMID: 23629705
5.  Outcomes with daptomycin in the treatment of Staphylococcus aureus infections with a range of vancomycin MICs 
Recent recommendations by the Infectious Diseases Society of America for the treatment of Staphylococcus aureus suggest the use of alternative agents when vancomycin MIC values are ≥2 mg/L. This study examines the outcome of patients treated with daptomycin for S. aureus infections with documented vancomycin MICs.
Patients and methods
All patients with skin, bacteraemia and endocarditis infections due to S. aureus with vancomycin MIC values in CORE 2005–08, a retrospective, multicentre, observational registry, were studied. The outcome (cure, improved, failure or non-evaluable) was the investigator assessment at the end of daptomycin therapy. Success was defined as cure or improved.
Five hundred and forty-seven clinically evaluable patients were identified with discrete vancomycin MIC values [MIC <2 mg/L: 451 (82%); MIC ≥2 mg/L: 96 (18%)]. The vancomycin MIC groups were well matched for patient characteristics, types of infections, first-line daptomycin use (19%) and prior vancomycin use (58%). Clinical success was reported in 94% of patients. No differences were detected in the daptomycin success rate by the vancomycin MIC group overall or by the infection type. A multivariate logistic regression also failed to identify vancomycin MIC as a predictor of daptomycin failure. Adverse event (AE) rates were not different when analysed by MIC group; both groups had ∼17% of patients with one AE.
In this diverse population, daptomycin was associated with similar outcomes for patients, regardless of whether the vancomycin MIC was categorized as <2 or ≥2 mg/L. Further studies are warranted.
PMCID: PMC2904666  PMID: 20554570
lipopeptides; S. aureus; CORE
6.  Daptomycin Rapidly Penetrates a Staphylococcus epidermidis Biofilm▿ †  
Fluorescently tagged daptomycin accessed the interior of Staphylococcus epidermidis biofilm cell clusters within minutes. The diffusion coefficient of daptomycin in the biofilm was 28% of its value in pure water. Daptomycin activity against staphylococci embedded in biofilms is unlikely to be limited by penetration of the antibiotic into the biofilm.
PMCID: PMC2715639  PMID: 19451285
7.  Inhibitory and Bactericidal Activities of Daptomycin, Vancomycin, and Teicoplanin against Methicillin-Resistant Staphylococcus aureus Isolates Collected from 1985 to 2007 ▿  
The inhibitory and bactericidal activities of daptomycin, vancomycin, and teicoplanin against a collection of 479 methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus isolates were assessed. The isolates were collected from U.S. and European hospitals from 1985 to 2007 and were primarily from blood and abscess cultures. The MICs and minimum bactericidal concentrations (MBCs) of the three agents were determined, and the MBC/MIC ratios were calculated to determine the presence or absence of tolerance. Tolerance was defined as an MBC/MIC ratio of ≥32 or an MBC/MIC ratio of ≥16 when the MBC was greater than or equal to the breakpoint for resistance. Tolerance to vancomycin and teicoplanin was observed in 6.1% and 18.8% of the strains, respectively. Tolerance to daptomycin was not observed.
PMCID: PMC2681544  PMID: 19223623
8.  Associations between the Genotypes of Staphylococcus aureus Bloodstream Isolates and Clinical Characteristics and Outcomes of Bacteremic Patients ▿  
Journal of Clinical Microbiology  2008;46(9):2890-2896.
We investigated associations between the genotypic and phenotypic features of Staphylococcus aureus bloodstream isolates and the clinical characteristics of bacteremic patients enrolled in a phase III trial of S. aureus bacteremia and endocarditis. Isolates underwent pulsed-field gel electrophoresis, PCR for 33 putative virulence genes, and screening for heteroresistant glycopeptide intermediate S. aureus (hGISA). A total of 230 isolates (141 methicillin-susceptible S. aureus and 89 methicillin-resistant S. aureus [MRSA]) were analyzed. North American and European S. aureus isolates differed in their genotypic characteristics. Overall, 26% of the MRSA bloodstream isolates were USA 300 strains. Patients with USA 300 MRSA bacteremia were more likely to be injection drug users (61% versus 15%; P < 0.001), to have right-sided endocarditis (39% versus 9%; P = 0.002), and to be cured of right-sided endocarditis (100% versus 33%; P = 0.01) than patients with non-USA 300 MRSA bacteremia. Patients with persistent bacteremia were less likely to be infected with Panton-Valentine leukocidin gene (pvl)-constitutive MRSA (19% versus 56%; P = 0.005). Although 7 of 89 MRSA isolates (8%) exhibited the hGISA phenotype, no association with persistent bacteremia, daptomycin resistance, or bacterial genotype was observed. This study suggests that the virulence gene profiles of S. aureus bloodstream isolates from North America and Europe differ significantly. In this study of bloodstream isolates collected as part of a multinational randomized clinical trial, USA 300 and pvl-constitutive MRSA strains were associated with better clinical outcomes.
PMCID: PMC2546778  PMID: 18596141
9.  Interaction of Blastomyces dermatitidis, Sporothrix schenckii, and Histoplasma capsulatum with Acanthamoeba castellanii  
Infection and Immunity  2004;72(6):3478-3488.
Several dimorphic fungi are important human pathogens, but the origin and maintenance of virulence in these organisms is enigmatic, since an interaction with a mammalian host is not a requisite for fungal survival. Recently, Cryptococcus neoformans was shown to interact with macrophages, slime molds, and amoebae in a similar manner, suggesting that fungal pathogenic strategies may arise from environmental interactions with phagocytic microorganisms. In this study, we examined the interactions of three dimorphic fungi with the soil amoeba Acanthameobae castellanii. Yeast forms of Blastomyces dermatitidis, Sporothrix schenckii, and Histoplasma capsulatum were each ingested by amoebae and macrophages, and phagocytosis of yeast cells resulted in amoeba death and fungal growth. H. capsulatum conidia were also cytotoxic to amoebae. For each fungal species, exposure of yeast cells to amoebae resulted in an increase in hyphal cells. Exposure of an avirulent laboratory strain of H. capsulatum to A. castellanii selected for, or induced, a phenotype of H. capsulatum that caused a persistent murine lung infection. These results are consistent with the view that soil amoebae may contribute to the selection and maintenance of certain traits in pathogenic dimorphic fungi that confer on these microbes the capacity for virulence in mammals.
PMCID: PMC415723  PMID: 15155655
10.  Antibodies to a cell surface histone-like protein protect against Histoplasma capsulatum 
Journal of Clinical Investigation  2003;112(8):1164-1175.
A protective role for antibodies has not previously been described for host defense against the pathogenic fungus Histoplasma capsulatum (Hc). Mouse mAb’s were generated from mice immunized with Hc yeast that binds the cell surface of Hc. Administration of mAb’s before Hc infection reduced fungal burden, decreased pulmonary inflammation, and prolonged survival in a murine infection model. Protection mediated by mAb’s was associated with enhanced levels of IL-4, IL-6, and IFN-γ in the lungs of infected mice. The mAb’s increased phagocytosis of yeast by J774.16 cells through a CR3-dependent process. Ingestion of mAb-opsonized Hc by J774.16 macrophage-like cells was associated with yeast cell growth inhibition and killing. The mAb’s bound to a 17-kDa antigen expressed on the surface of Hc. The antigen was identified as a histone H2B–like protein. This study establishes that mAb’s to a cell surface protein of Hc alter the intracellular fate of the fungus and mediate protection in a murine model of lethal histoplasmosis, and it suggests a new candidate antigen for vaccine development.
PMCID: PMC213494  PMID: 14561701
11.  Cryptococcus neoformans Virulence Is Enhanced after Growth in the Genetically Malleable Host Dictyostelium discoideum  
Infection and Immunity  2003;71(9):4862-4872.
Cryptococcus neoformans is an encapsulated, environmental fungus that can cause life-threatening meningitis. Pathogenicity of C. neoformans for macrophages and vertebrate hosts may be a mechanism selected in evolution for protection against environmental predators. In this study, we investigated whether Dictyostelium discoideum could serve as an alternate host for C. neoformans. D. discoideum has a defined genetic system which provides significant advantages for the study of fungus-amoeba interactions. Our results show that D. discoideum is susceptible to infection with C. neoformans and that the interactions are similar to those described previously for this fungus with macrophages and Acanthamoeba castellanii. Acapsular C. neoformans cells did not replicate when coincubated with D. discoideum. However, incubation of acapsular C. neoformans with D. discoideum mutants defective in myosin VII synthesis resulted in infection, validating the concept that avirulent organisms can be virulent in impaired hosts even at the unicellular level. Phagocytosis of C. neoformans by D. discoideum could be inhibited with capsule-specific antibodies and various sugars. Passage of an encapsulated C. neoformans strain through D. discoideum cultures increased virulence and was accompanied by larger capsules and faster time to melanization. These results add to the evidence implicating soil ameboid predators as important factors for the maintenance of C. neoformans virulence in the environment and suggest that D. discoideum promises to be an extremely useful system for studying the interaction of C. neoformans with phagocytic cells.
PMCID: PMC187309  PMID: 12933827

Results 1-11 (11)