The use of colistin in the treatment of life-threatening Gram-negative infections is associated with a high rate of nephrotoxicity that is dose limiting. This study aimed to examine the nephroprotective effect of ascorbic acid against colistin-induced nephrotoxicity.
Rats were treated intravenously twice daily with saline, colistin (cumulative dose of 36.5 mg/kg), a combination of ascorbic acid (50 or 200 mg/kg) and colistin, or ascorbic acid (200 mg/kg) over 7 days. Colistin-induced apoptosis was examined in rats over 5 days and in vitro using rat renal proximal tubular cells NRK-52E over 24 h with and without ascorbic acid. The effect of co-administered ascorbic acid on colistin pharmacokinetics was investigated.
The 24 h urinary excretion of N-acetyl-β-d-glucosaminidase, a sensitive marker for tubular damage, was significantly lower (P < 0.0001) in the colistin/ascorbic acid 200 mg/kg group. Significant histological abnormalities (P < 0.01) were detected only in the kidneys of the colistin group, which also had the highest percentage (30.6 ± 7.8%) of apoptotic cells (P < 0.005). In the cell culture studies, the percentage of apoptotic cells was significantly higher in the presence of 0.1 mM colistin alone (51.8 ± 2.0%; P < 0.0001) than in the presence of ascorbic acid, which decreased the apoptotic effect in a concentration-dependent manner. Ascorbic acid (200 mg/kg) altered colistin pharmacokinetics, as the total body clearance decreased from 3.78 ± 0.36 mL/min/kg (colistin group) to 2.46 ± 0.57 mL/min/kg (P = 0.0024).
This is the first study demonstrating the protective effect of ascorbic acid against colistin-induced nephrotoxicity and tubular apoptosis. Co-administration of ascorbic acid has the potential to increase the therapeutic index of colistin.
polymyxin E; vitamin C; rat kidney tubular cells
The ability of AGP to bind circulating lipopolysaccharide (LPS) in plasma is believed to help reduce the proinflammatory effect of bacterial lipid A molecules. Here, for the first time we have characterized human AGP binding characteristics of the LPS from a number of pathogenic Gram-negative bacteria: Escherichia coli, Salmonella typhimurium, Klebsiella pneumonia, Pseudomonas aeruginosa, and Serratia marcescens. The binding affinity and structure activity relationships (SAR) of the AGP-LPS interactions were characterized by surface plasma resonance (SPR). In order to dissect the contribution of the lipid A, core oligosaccharide and O-antigen polysaccharide components of LPS, the AGP binding affinity of LPS from smooth strains, were compared to lipid A, Kdo2-lipid A, Ra, Rd, and Re rough LPS mutants. The SAR analysis enabled by the binding data suggested that, in addition to the important role played by the lipid A and core components of LPS, it is predominately the unique species- and strain-specific carbohydrate structure of the O-antigen polysaccharide that largely determines the binding affinity for AGP. Together, these data are consistent with the role of AGP in the binding and transport of LPS in plasma during acute-phase inflammatory responses to invading Gram-negative bacteria.
This study utilizes sensitive, modern isothermal titration calorimetric (ITC) methods to characterize the microscopic thermodynamic parameters that drive the binding of basic drugs to α-1-acid glycoprotein (AGP) and thereby rationalize the thermodynamic data in relation to docking models and crystallographic structures of the drug-AGP complexes. The binding of basic compounds from the tricyclic antidepressant series, together with miaserine, chlorpromazine, disopyramide and cimetidine all displayed an exothermically driven binding interaction with AGP. The impact of protonation/deprotonation events, ionic strength, temperature and the individual selectivity of the A and F1*S AGP variants on drug-binding thermodynamics were characterized. A correlation plot of the thermodynamic parameters for all of the test compounds revealed enthalpy-entropy compensation is in effect. The exothermic binding energetics of the test compounds were driven by a combination of favorable (negative) enthalpic (ΔH°) and favorable (positive) entropic (ΔS°) contributions to the Gibbs free energy (ΔG°). Collectively, the data imply that the free energies that drive drug binding to AGP and its relationship to drug-serum residency evolve from the complex interplay of enthalpic and entropic forces from interactions with explicit combinations of hydrophobic and polar side-chain sub-domains within the multi-lobed AGP ligand binding cavity.
human α-1-acid glycoprotein; thermodynamics; drug binding
Purpose of review
Colistin is a 50 year-old antibiotic that is being used increasingly as a ‘last-line’ therapy to treat infections caused by MDR Gram-negative bacteria, when essentially no other options are available. Despite its age, or because of its age, there has been a dearth of knowledge on its pharmacological and microbiological properties. This review focuses on recent studies aimed at optimizing the clinical use of this old antibiotic.
A number of factors, including the diversity in the pharmaceutical products available, have hindered the optimal use of colistin. Recent advances in understanding of the pharmacokinetics and pharmacodynamics of colistin, and the emerging knowledge on the relationship between the pharmacokinetics and pharmacodynamics, providing a solid base for optimization of dosage regimens. The potential for nephrotoxicity has been a lingering concern, but recent studies provide useful new information on the incidence, severity and reversibility of this adverse effect. Recent approaches to the use of other antibiotics in combination with colistin hold promise for increased antibacterial efficacy with less potential for emergence of resistance.
Because few, if any, new antibiotics with activity against MDR Gram-negative bacteria will be available within the next several years, it is essential that colistin is used in ways that maximize its antibacterial efficacy and minimize toxicity and development of resistance. Recent developments have improved use of colistin in the 21st century.
colistin; approaches to optimizing therapy; Gram-negative infections
The increasing prevalence of multidrug-resistant Gram-negative bacteria worldwide has led to a re-evaluation of the previously discarded antibiotic, colistin. Despite its important role as salvage therapy for otherwise untreatable infections, dosage guidelines for the prodrug colistin methanesulfonate (CMS) are not scientifically based and have led to treatment failure and increased colistin resistance. In this review we summarise the recent progress made in the understanding of the pharmacokinetics of CMS and formed colistin with an emphasis on critically-ill patients. The pharmacodynamics of colistin is also reviewed, with special attention given to the relationship between pharmacokinetics and pharmacodynamics and how the emerging data can be used to inform design of optimal dosage regimens. Recent data suggest the current dosage regimens of CMS are sub-optimal in many critically-ill patients.
Here, for the first time, we have characterized binding properties of the polymyxin class of antibiotics for human α-1-acid glycoprotein (AGP) using a combination of biophysical techniques. The binding affinity of colistin, polymyxin B, polymyxin B3, colistin methansulfonate, and colistin nona-peptide was determined by isothermal titration calorimetry (ITC), surface plasma resonance (SPR) and fluorometric assay methods. All assay techniques indicated colistin, polymyxin B and polymyxin B3 display a moderate binding affinity for AGP. ITC and SPR showed there was no detectable binding affinity for colistin methansulfonate and colistin nona-peptide, suggesting both the positive charges of the diaminobutyric acid (Dab) side chains and the N-terminal fatty acyl chain of the polymyxin molecule are required to drive binding to AGP. In addition, the ITC and fluorometric data suggested that endogenous lipidic substances bound to AGP provide part of the polymyxin binding surface. A molecular model of the polymyxin B3–AGP F1*S complex was presented that illustrates the pivotal role of the N-terminal fatty acyl chain and the D-Phe6-L-Leu7 hydrophobic motif of polymyxin B3 for binding to the cleft-like ligand binding cavity of AGP F1*S variant. The model conforms with the entropy driven binding interaction characterized by ITC which suggests hydrophobic interactions coupled to desolvation events and conformational changes are the primary driving force for polymyxins binding to AGP. Collectively, the data are consistent with a role of this acute-phase reactant protein in the transport of polymyxins in plasma.
Human α-1-acid glycoprotein; Binding affinity; Polymyxin; Colistin
Interaction of colistin and colistin methanesulfonate (CMS) with liposomes has been studied with the view to understanding the limitations to the use of liposomes as a more effective delivery system for pulmonary inhalation of this important class of antibiotic. Thus, in this study, liposomes containing colistin or CMS were prepared and characterized with respect to colloidal behavior and drug encapsulation and release. Association of anionic CMS with liposomes induced negative charge on the particles. However, degradation of the CMS to form cationic colistin over time was directly correlated with charge reversal and particle aggregation. The rate of degradation of CMS was significantly more rapid when associated with the liposome bilayer than when compared with the same concentration in aqueous solution. Colistin liposomes carried positive charge and were stable. Encapsulation efficiency for colistin was approximately 50%, decreasing with increasing concentration of colistin. Colistin was rapidly released from liposomes on dilution. Although the studies indicate limited utility of colistin or CMS liposomes for long duration controlled-release applications, colistin liposomes were highly stable and may present a potential opportunity for coformulation of colistin with a second antibiotic to colocalize the two drugs after pulmonary delivery.
colistin; polymyxin E; micelle; stability; self-assembly; liposome; controlled release/delivery; colloid
The diminishing antimicrobial development pipeline has forced the revival of colistin as a last line of defence against infections caused by multidrug-resistant Gram-negative ‘superbugs’ such as Acinetobacter baumannii. The complete loss of lipopolysaccharide (LPS) mediates colistin resistance in some A. baumannii strains. Atomic force microscopy was used to examine the surface properties of colistin-susceptible and -resistant A. baumannii strains at mid-logarithmic and stationary growth phases in liquid and in response to colistin treatment. The contribution of LPS to surface properties was investigated using A. baumannii strains constructed with and without the lpxA gene. Bacterial spring constant measurements revealed that colistin-susceptible cells were significantly stiffer than colistin-resistant cells at both growth phases (P < 0.01), whilst colistin treatment at high concentrations (32 mg/L) resulted in more rigid surfaces for both phenotypes. Multiple, large adhesive peaks frequently noted in force curves captured on colistin-susceptible cells were not evident for colistin-resistant cells. Adhesion events were markedly reduced following colistin exposure. The cell membranes of strains of both phenotypes remained intact following colistin treatment, although fine topographical details were illustrated. These studies, conducted for the first time on live A. baumannii cells in liquid, have contributed to our understanding of the action of colistin in this problematic pathogen.
Atomic force microscopy; Colistin; Acinetobacter baumannii; Morphology; Surface properties
We recently demonstrated that colistin resistance in Acinetobacter baumannii can result from mutational inactivation of genes essential for lipid A biosynthesis (Moffatt JH, et al., Antimicrob. Agents Chemother. 54:4971–4977). Consequently, strains harboring these mutations are unable to produce the major Gram-negative bacterial surface component, lipopolysaccharide (LPS). To understand how A. baumannii compensates for the lack of LPS, we compared the transcriptional profile of the A. baumannii type strain ATCC 19606 to that of an isogenic, LPS-deficient, lpxA mutant strain. The analysis of the expression profiles indicated that the LPS-deficient strain showed increased expression of many genes involved in cell envelope and membrane biogenesis. In particular, upregulated genes included those involved in the Lol lipoprotein transport system and the Mla-retrograde phospholipid transport system. In addition, genes involved in the synthesis and transport of poly-β-1,6-N-acetylglucosamine (PNAG) also were upregulated, and a corresponding increase in PNAG production was observed. The LPS-deficient strain also exhibited the reduced expression of genes predicted to encode the fimbrial subunit FimA and a type VI secretion system (T6SS). The reduced expression of genes involved in T6SS correlated with the detection of the T6SS-effector protein AssC in culture supernatants of the A. baumannii wild-type strain but not in the LPS-deficient strain. Taken together, these data show that, in response to total LPS loss, A. baumannii alters the expression of critical transport and biosynthesis systems associated with modulating the composition and structure of the bacterial surface.
Combination therapy may be required for multidrug-resistant (MDR) Pseudomonas aeruginosa. The aim of this study was to systematically investigate bacterial killing and emergence of colistin resistance with colistin and doripenem combinations against MDR P. aeruginosa. Studies were conducted in a one-compartment in vitro pharmacokinetic/pharmacodynamic model for 96 h at two inocula (∼106 and ∼108 CFU/ml) against a colistin-heteroresistant reference strain (ATCC 27853) and a colistin-resistant MDR clinical isolate (19147 n/m). Four combinations utilizing clinically achievable concentrations were investigated. Microbiological response was examined by log changes and population analysis profiles. Colistin (constant concentrations of 0.5 or 2 mg/liter) plus doripenem (peaks of 2.5 or 25 mg/liter every 8 h; half-life, 1.5 h) substantially increased bacterial killing against both strains at the low inoculum, while combinations containing colistin at 2 mg/liter increased activity against ATCC 27853 at the high inoculum; only colistin at 0.5 mg/liter plus doripenem at 2.5 mg/liter failed to improve activity against 19147 n/m at the high inoculum. Combinations were additive or synergistic against ATCC 27853 in 16 and 11 of 20 cases (4 combinations across 5 sample points) at the 106- and 108-CFU/ml inocula, respectively; the corresponding values for 19147 n/m were 16 and 9. Combinations containing doripenem at 25 mg/liter resulted in eradication of 19147 n/m at the low inoculum and substantial reductions in regrowth (including to below the limit of detection at ∼50 h) at the high inoculum. Emergence of colistin-resistant subpopulations of ATCC 27853 was substantially reduced and delayed with combination therapy. This investigation provides important information for optimization of colistin-doripenem combinations.
The use of combination antibiotic therapy may be beneficial against rapidly emerging resistance in Pseudomonas aeruginosa. The aim of this study was to systematically investigate in vitro bacterial killing and resistance emergence with colistin alone and in combination with imipenem against multidrug-resistant (MDR) P. aeruginosa. Time-kill studies were conducted over 48 h using 5 clinical isolates and ATCC 27853 at two inocula (∼106 and ∼108 CFU/ml); MDR, non-MDR, and colistin-heteroresistant and -resistant strains were included. Nine colistin-imipenem combinations were investigated. Microbiological response was examined by log changes at 6, 24, and 48 h. Colistin combined with imipenem at clinically relevant concentrations increased the levels of killing of MDR and colistin-heteroresistant isolates at both inocula. Substantial improvements in activity with combinations were observed across 48 h with all colistin concentrations at the low inoculum and with colistin at 4× and 16× MIC (or 4 and 32 mg/liter) at the high inoculum. Combinations were additive or synergistic against imipenem-resistant isolates (MICs, 16 and 32 mg/liter) at the 106-CFU inoculum in 9, 11, and 12 of 18 cases (i.e., 9 combinations across 2 isolates) at 6, 24, and 48 h, respectively, and against the same isolates at the 108-CFU inoculum in 11, 7, and 8 cases, respectively. Against a colistin-resistant strain (MIC, 128 mg/liter), combinations were additive or synergistic in 9 and 8 of 9 cases at 24 h at the 106- and 108-CFU inocula, respectively, and in 5 and 7 cases at 48 h. This systematic study provides important information for optimization of colistin-imipenem combinations targeting both colistin-susceptible and colistin-resistant subpopulations.
Colistin-induced nephrotoxicity is a dose-limiting adverse effect when colistin is used against Gram-negative pathogens. This study examined the nephroprotective effect of melatonin against colistin in rats. Rats (n = 7 per group) were treated intravenously twice daily with saline, colistin (at increasing doses from 0.5 to 4.0 mg/kg), melatonin (5 mg/kg), or both melatonin and colistin for 7 days. The severity of renal alteration was examined both biochemically and histologically. The effect of coadministration of melatonin on colistin pharmacokinetics was investigated. Significantly lower urinary N-acetyl-β-d-glucosaminidase excretion was observed from day 1 in the colistin-melatonin group compared to the colistin group (P < 0.0001). Plasma creatinine increased significantly (P = 0.023) only in the colistin group on day 6. Significant histological abnormalities (P < 0.0001) were detected only in the kidneys of the colistin group. Melatonin altered colistin pharmacokinetics; the total body clearance in the colistin-melatonin group (1.82 ± 0.26 ml/min/kg) was lower than in the colistin group (4.28 ± 0.93 ml/min/kg). This is the first study demonstrating the protective effect of melatonin against colistin-induced nephrotoxicity, which indicates that colistin-induced nephrotoxicity is mediated through oxidative stress. It also highlights the potential of coadministering an antioxidant to widen the therapeutic window of this very important last-line antibiotic.
(See editorial commentary by Bronomo, on pages 485–487.)
Carbapenem resistance in Klebsiella pneumoniae is most notably due to the K. pneumoniae carbapenemase (KPC) β-lactamase. In this report, we describe the occurrence of a newly described mechanism of carbapenem resistance, the NDM-1 β-lactamase, in a patient who received medical attention (but was not hospitalized) in India.
Fluorescence assays employing semi-synthetic or commercial dansyl-polymyxin B, have been widely employed to assess the affinity of polycations, including polymyxins, for bacterial cells and lipopolysaccharide (LPS). The five primary γ-amines on diaminobutyric-acid residues of polymyxin B are potentially derivatized with dansyl-cholride. Mass spectrometric analysis of the commercial product revealed a complex mixture of di- or tetra- dansyl-substituted polymyxin B. We synthesized a mono-substituted fluorescent derivative, dansyl[Lys]1polymyxinB3. The affinity of polymyxin for purified Gram-negative LPS, and whole bacterial cells was investigated. The affinity of dansyl[Lys]1polymyxinB3 for LPS was comparable to polymyxin B and colistin, and considerably greater (kd < 1 μM) than for whole cells (kd ~6 to 12 μM). Isothermal titration calorimetric studies demonstrated exothermic enthalpically driven binding between both polymyxin B and dansyl[Lys]1polymyxinB3 to LPS, attributed to electrostatic interactions. The hydrophobic dansyl moiety imparted a greater entropic contribution to the dansyl[Lys]1polymyxinB3-LPS reaction. Molecular modeling revealed a loss of electrostatic contact within the dansyl[Lys]1polymyxinB3-LPS complex due to steric hindrance from the dansyl[Lys]1 fluorophore; this corresponded with diminished antibacterial activity (MIC ≥ 16 μg/mL). Dansyl[Lys]1polymyxinB3 may prove useful as a screening tool for drug development.
dansyl-polymyxin B; Gram-negative bacteria; binding affinity; polymyxin; colistin; lipopolysaccharide
Electrostatic forces mediate the initial interaction between cationic colistin and Gram-negative bacterial cells. Lipopolysaccharide (LPS) loss mediates colistin resistance in some A. baumannii strains. Our aim was to determine the surface charge of colistin-susceptible and –resistant A. baumannii as a function of growth phase and in response to polymyxin treatment.
The zeta potential of A. baumannii ATCC 19606 and 10 clinical multidrug-resistant strains (MICs 0.5–2 mg/L) was assessed. Colistin-resistant derivatives (MIC >128 mg/L) of wild-type strains were selected in the presence of 10 mg/L colistin, including the LPS-deficient lpxA mutant, ATCC 19606R. To determine the contribution of LPS to surface charge, two complemented ATCC 19606R derivatives were examined, namely ATCC 19606R + lpxA (containing an intact lpxA gene) and ATCC 19606R + V (containing empty vector). Investigations were conducted as a function of growth phase and polymyxin treatment (1, 4 and 8 mg/L).
Wild-type cells exhibited a greater negative charge (−60.5 ± 2.36 to −26.2 ± 2.56 mV) thancolistin-resistant cells (−49.2 ± 3.09 to −19.1 ± 2.80 mV) at mid-log phase (ANOVA, P < 0.05). Opposing growth-phase trends were observed for both phenotypes: wild-type cells displayed reduced negative charge and colistin-resistant cells displayed increased negative charge at stationary compared with mid-logarithmic phase. Polymyxin exposure resulted in a concentration-dependent increase in zeta potential. Examination of ATCC 19606R and complemented strains supported the importance of LPS in determining surface charge, suggesting a potential mechanism of colistin resistance.
Zeta potential differences between A. baumannii phenotypes probably reflect compositional outer-membrane variations that impact the electrostatic component of colistin activity.
physicochemical properties; Gram-negative; polymyxin
Infections caused by Acinetobacter baumannii are of increasing concern, largely due to the multidrug resistance of many strains. Here we show that insertion sequence ISAba11 movement can result in inactivation of the A. baumannii lipid A biosynthesis genes lpxA and lpxC, resulting in the complete loss of lipopolysaccharide production and high-level colistin resistance.
To elucidate the pharmacokinetic/pharmacodynamic (PK/PD) index that predicts colistin efficacy against Acinetobacter baumannii in neutropenic murine thigh and lung infection models, and to determine the extent of the emergence of resistance in vivo to colistin.
PK/PD of colistin was studied in thigh and lung infection models against A. baumannii ATCC 19606 and two multidrug-resistant clinical isolates (two of the three strains were colistin heteroresistant). Dose fractionation studies were conducted over a daily dose range of 1–160 mg/kg colistin sulphate. Bacterial burden in tissues was measured at 24 h. Non-linear least squares regression analyses were employed to determine the PK/PD index (fAUC/MIC, fCmax/MIC or fT>MIC) best correlating with the efficacy of colistin in each model. Real-time population analysis profiles were conducted for tissue samples to monitor the emergence of resistance.
The fAUC/MIC was the PK/PD index that correlated best with efficacy in both thigh (R2 = 0.90) and lung (R2 = 0.80) infection models. The fAUC/MIC targets required to achieve stasis and 1 log kill against the three strains were 1.89–7.41 and 6.98–13.6 in the thigh infection model, respectively, while the corresponding values were 1.57–6.52 and 8.18–42.1 in the lung infection model. Amplification of colistin-resistant subpopulations was revealed for all strains in both models after 24 h colistin treatment.
This study indicates the importance of achieving adequate time-averaged exposure to colistin and defined target fAUC/MIC values for various magnitudes of kill. Amplification of resistant subpopulations indicates the importance of investigating rational combinations with colistin. The results will facilitate efforts to optimize colistin use in humans.
Gram-negative bacteria; emergence of resistance; population analysis profiles; heteroresistance
The aim of this study was to investigate the factors limiting the blood-brain barrier (BBB) transport of colistin in healthy mice and to assess the impact of systemic inflammation on the transport of this antibiotic across the BBB. Colistin sulfate (40 mg/kg) was administered subcutaneously to Swiss outbred mice as single and multiple doses to determine any relationship between brain uptake and plasma concentrations of colistin. To assess the effect of P-glycoprotein (P-gp) on BBB transport, colistin sulfate (5 mg/kg) was concomitantly administered intravenously with PSC833 or GF120918 (10 mg/kg). Systemic inflammation was induced by three intraperitoneal injections of lipopolysaccharide (LPS; 3 mg/kg), and BBB transport of colistin was subsequently measured following subcutaneous administration and by an in situ brain perfusion. The brain uptake of colistin was low following single and multiple subcutaneous doses, with brain-to-plasma concentration ratios ranging between 0.021 and 0.037, and this was not significantly enhanced by coadministration of GF120918 or PSC833 (P > 0.05). LPS significantly increased the brain uptake of subcutaneously administered colistin with area under the brain concentration time curve (AUCbrain) values of 11.7 ± 2.7 μg·h/g and 4.0 ± 0.3 μg·h/g for LPS- and saline-treated mice, respectively (mean ± standard deviation). Similarly, in situ perfusion of colistin led to higher antibiotic brain concentrations in LPS-treated animals than in saline-treated animals, with colistin brain-to-perfusate concentration ratios of 0.019 ± 0.001 and 0.014 ± 0.001, respectively. This study demonstrates that the BBB transport of colistin is negligible in healthy mice; however, brain concentrations of colistin can be significantly enhanced during systemic inflammation, as might be observed in infected patients.
The purpose of this study was to assess the stability of colistin and colistin methanesulphonate (CMS) in human plasma under storage conditions typically used in clinical pharmacokinetic (PK) and PK/pharmacodynamic (PD) investigations.
Human plasma (pH adjusted to 7.4) containing colistin (2 mg/L) or CMS (2 or 30 mg/L) was stored at −20, −70 or −80°C for 6–12 months. At periodic intervals, the concentrations of colistin in colistin-spiked samples, and of CMS and formed colistin in CMS-spiked samples, were analysed (n = 3 replicates at each time) by HPLC.
The time course of colistin concentrations in colistin-spiked plasma showed a substantially better stability at −80 and −70°C than at −20°C. With regard to CMS-spiked plasma of 2 and 30 mg/L stored at −80 and −70°C, no quantifiable colistin formed over a 4 month period. However, the plasma spiked to 2 mg/L stored at −20°C showed a substantial concentration of colistin (∼0.4 mg/L) within 2 months. At all three storage temperatures, the stability of CMS was substantially better for the plasma spiked to contain 30 mg/L as compared with 2 mg/L.
The results of our long-term stability study have significant implications for those involved in conducting clinical PK and PK/PD studies with CMS/colistin.
polymyxins; pharmacokinetics/pharmacodynamics; HPLC
Infections caused by multidrug-resistant (MDR) Gram-negative bacteria represent a major global health problem. Polymyxin antibiotics such as colistin have resurfaced as effective last-resort antimicrobials for use against MDR Gram-negative pathogens, including Acinetobacter baumannii. Here we show that A. baumannii can rapidly develop resistance to polymyxin antibiotics by complete loss of the initial binding target, the lipid A component of lipopolysaccharide (LPS), which has long been considered to be essential for the viability of Gram-negative bacteria. We characterized 13 independent colistin-resistant derivatives of A. baumannii type strain ATCC 19606 and showed that all contained mutations within one of the first three genes of the lipid A biosynthesis pathway: lpxA, lpxC, and lpxD. All of these mutations resulted in the complete loss of LPS production. Furthermore, we showed that loss of LPS occurs in a colistin-resistant clinical isolate of A. baumannii. This is the first report of a spontaneously occurring, lipopolysaccharide-deficient, Gram-negative bacterium.
Colistin is an amphiphilic antibiotic that has re-emerged into clinical use due to the increasing prevalence of difficult-to-treat Gram-negative infections. The existence of self-assembling colloids in solutions of colistin and its derivative prodrug, colistin methanesulfonate (CMS) was investigated. Colistin and CMS reduced the air-water interfacial tension, and dynamic light scattering (DLS) studies showed the existence of 2.07 ± 0.3 nm aggregates above 1.5 mM for colistin, and of 1.98 ± 0.36 nm aggregates for CMS above 3.5 mM (mean ± SD). Above the respective critical micelle concentrations (CMC) the solubility of azithromycin, a hydrophobic antibiotic, increased approximately linearly with increasing surfactant concentration (5:1 mol ratio colistin:azithromycin), suggestive of hydrophobic domains within the micellar cores. Rapid conversion of CMS to colistin occurred below the CMC (60 % over 48 hr), while conversion above the CMC was less than 1 %. The formation of colistin and CMS micelles demonstrated in this study is the proposed mechanism for solubilization of azithromycin and the concentration-dependent stability of CMS.
Micelle; dynamic light scattering; amphiphilic peptide antibiotic; azithromycin
Colistin plays a key role in treatment of serious infections by Pseudomonas aeruginosa. The aims of this study were to (i) identify the pharmacokinetic/pharmacodynamic (PK/PD) index (i.e., the area under the unbound concentration-time curve to MIC ratio [ƒAUC/MIC], the unbound maximal concentration to MIC ratio [ƒCmax/MIC], or the cumulative percentage of a 24-h period that unbound concentrations exceed the MIC [ƒT>MIC]) that best predicts colistin efficacy and (ii) determine the values for the predictive PK/PD index required to achieve various magnitudes of killing effect. Studies were conducted in a one-compartment in vitro PK/PD model for 24 h using P. aeruginosa ATCC 27853, PAO1, and the multidrug-resistant mucoid clinical isolate 19056 muc. Six intermittent dosing intervals, with a range of ƒCmax colistin concentrations, and two continuous infusion regimens were examined. PK/PD indices varied from 0.06 to 18 for targeted ƒCmax/MIC, 0.36 to 312 for ƒAUC/MIC, and 0 to 100% for ƒT>MIC. A Hill-type model was fit to killing effect data, which were expressed as the log10 ratio of the area under the CFU/ml curve for treated regimens versus control. With ƒCmax values equal to or above the MIC, rapid killing was observed following the first dose; substantial regrowth occurred by 24 h with most regimens. The overall killing effect was best correlated with ƒAUC/MIC (R2 = 0.931) compared to ƒCmax/MIC (R2 = 0.868) and ƒT>MIC (R2 = 0.785). The magnitudes of ƒAUC/MIC required for 1- and 2-log10 reductions in the area under the CFU/ml curve relative to growth control were 22.6 and 30.4, 27.1 and 35.7, and 5.04 and 6.81 for ATCC 27853, PAO1, and 19056 muc, respectively. The PK/PD targets identified will assist in designing optimal dosing strategies for colistin.
Polymyxins are cationic lipopeptides (five cationic charges) and the last resort for the treatment of serious Gram-negative infections caused by multiresistant strains. NAB741 has a cyclic peptide portion identical to that of polymyxin B but carries in the linear peptide portion a threonyl-d-serinyl residue (no cationic charges) instead of the diaminobutyryl-threonyl-diaminobutyryl residue (two cationic charges). At the N terminus of the peptide, NAB741 carries an acetyl group instead of a mixture of methyl octanoyl and methyl heptanoyl residues. NAB741 sensitized Escherichia coli, Klebsiella pneumoniae, Enterobacter cloacae, and Acinetobacter baumannii to antibiotics against which the intact outer membrane is an effective permeability barrier. When tested by using Etest strips on plates containing increasing concentrations of NAB741, the fractional inhibition concentration index (FICI) of the combination of NAB741 with rifampin ranged from ≤0.111 to 0.158 and that with clarithromycin from ≤0.094 to 0.292. When tested by the checkerboard method, the corresponding FICI values against E. coli ATCC 25922 were ≤0.141 to ≤0.155 with rifampin and 0.094 with clarithromycin. In addition, at 4 μg/ml, NAB741 decreased the MICs of azithromycin, mupirocin, fusidic acid, and vancomycin for E. coli strains and E. cloacae by factors ranging from 8 to 200. A sister peptide, NAB752, carrying a threonyl-aminobutyryl residue as the linear peptide portion, was inactive. Furthermore, NAB741 sensitized E. coli to the bactericidal activity of fresh guinea pig serum. The renal clearance of NAB741 was approximately 400-fold, 16-fold, and 8-fold higher than those measured for colistin, NAB7061, and NAB739, respectively.
Colistin is increasingly used as last-line therapy against Gram-negative pathogens. The pharmacokinetic (PK)/pharmacodynamic (PD) index that best correlates with the efficacy of colistin remains undefined. The activity of colistin against three strains of Pseudomonas aeruginosa was studied in neutropenic mouse thigh and lung infection models. The PKs of unbound colistin were determined from single-dose PK studies together with extensive plasma protein binding analyses. Dose-fractionation studies were conducted over 24 h with a dose range of 5 to 160 mg/kg of body weight/day. The bacterial burden in the thigh or lung was measured at 24 h after the initiation of treatment. Relationships between antibacterial effect and measures of exposure to unbound (f) colistin (area under the concentration-time curve [fAUC/MIC], maximum concentration of drug in plasma [fCmax]/MIC, and the time that the concentration in plasma is greater than the MIC [fT > MIC]) were examined by using an inhibitory sigmoid maximum-effect model. Nonlinearity in the PKs of colistin, including its plasma protein binding, was observed. The PK/PD index that correlated best with its efficacy was fAUC/MIC in both the thigh infection model (R2 = 87%) and the lung infection model (R2 = 89%). The fAUC/MIC targets required to achieve 1-log and 2-log kill against the three strains were 15.6 to 22.8 and 27.6 to 36.1, respectively, in the thigh infection model, while the corresponding values were 12.2 to 16.7 and 36.9 to 45.9 in the lung infection model. The findings of this in vivo study indicate the importance of achieving adequate time-averaged exposure to colistin. The results will facilitate efforts to define the more rational design of dosage regimens for humans.