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1.  Population Pharmacokinetics of Colistin Methanesulfonate in Rats: Achieving Sustained Lung Concentrations of Colistin for Targeting Respiratory Infections 
Antimicrobial Agents and Chemotherapy  2013;57(10):5087-5095.
Colistin methanesulfonate (CMS), the inactive prodrug of colistin, is administered by inhalation for the management of respiratory infections. However, limited pharmacokinetic data are available for CMS and colistin following pulmonary delivery. This study investigates the pharmacokinetics of CMS and colistin following intravenous (i.v.) and intratracheal (i.t.) administration in rats and determines the targeting advantage after direct delivery into the lungs. In addition to plasma, bronchoalveolar lavage (BAL) fluid was collected to quantify drug concentrations in lung epithelial lining fluid (ELF). The resulting data were analyzed using a population modeling approach in S-ADAPT. A three-compartment model described the disposition of both compounds in plasma following i.v. administration. The estimated mean clearance from the central compartment was 0.122 liters/h for CMS and 0.0657 liters/h for colistin. Conversion of CMS to colistin from all three compartments was required to fit the plasma data. The fraction of the i.v. dose converted to colistin in the systemic circulation was 0.0255. Two BAL fluid compartments were required to reflect drug kinetics in the ELF after i.t. dosing. A slow conversion of CMS (mean conversion time [MCTCMS] = 3.48 h) in the lungs contributed to high and sustained concentrations of colistin in ELF. The fraction of the CMS dose converted to colistin in ELF (fm,ELF = 0.226) was higher than the corresponding fractional conversion in plasma after i.v. administration. In conclusion, pulmonary administration of CMS achieves high and sustained exposures of colistin in lungs for targeting respiratory infections.
PMCID: PMC3811457  PMID: 23917323
2.  Pharmacology of polymyxins: new insights into an ‘old’ class of antibiotics 
Future microbiology  2013;8(6):10.2217/fmb.13.39.
Increasing antibiotic resistance in Gram-negative bacteria, particularly in Pseudomonas aeruginosa, Acinetobacter baumannii and Klebsiella pneumoniae, presents a global medical challenge. No new antibiotics will be available for these ‘superbugs’ in the near future due to the dry antibiotic discovery pipeline. Colistin and polymyxin B are increasingly used as the last-line therapeutic options for treatment of infections caused by multidrug-resistant Gram-negative bacteria. This article surveys the significant progress over the last decade in understanding polymyxin chemistry, mechanisms of antibacterial activity and resistance, structure–activity relationships and pharmacokinetics/pharmacodynamics. In the ‘Bad Bugs, No Drugs’ era, we must pursue structure–activity relationship-based approaches to develop novel polymyxin-like lipopeptides targeting polymyxin-resistant Gram-negative ‘superbugs’. Before new antibiotics become available, we must optimize the clinical use of polymyxins through the application of pharmacokinetic/pharmacodynamic principles, thereby minimizing the development of resistance.
PMCID: PMC3852176  PMID: 23701329
colistin; lipid A; lipopolysaccharide; pharmacokinetic/pharmacodynamic; polymyxin; resistance; structure–activity relationship
3.  Polymyxin B Induces Apoptosis in Kidney Proximal Tubular Cells 
The nephrotoxicity of polymyxins is a major dose-limiting factor for treatment of infections caused by multidrug-resistant Gram-negative pathogens. The mechanism(s) of polymyxin-induced nephrotoxicity is not clear. This study aimed to investigate polymyxin B-induced apoptosis in kidney proximal tubular cells. Polymyxin B-induced apoptosis in NRK-52E cells was examined by caspase activation, DNA breakage, and translocation of membrane phosphatidylserine using Red-VAD-FMK [Val-Ala-Asp(O-Me) fluoromethyl ketone] staining, a terminal deoxynucleotidyltransferase-mediated dUTP-biotin nick end labeling (TUNEL) assay, and double staining with annexin V-propidium iodide (PI). The concentration dependence (50% effective concentration [EC50]) and time course for polymyxin B-induced apoptosis were measured in NRK-52E and HK-2 cells by fluorescence-activated cell sorting (FACS) with annexin V and PI. Polymyxin B-induced apoptosis in NRK-52E cells was confirmed by positive labeling from Red-VAD-FMK staining, TUNEL assay, and annexin V-PI double staining. The EC50 (95% confidence interval [CI]) of polymyxin B for the NRK-52E cells was 1.05 (0.91 to 1.22) mM and was 0.35 (0.29 to 0.42) mM for HK-2 cells. At lower concentrations of polymyxin B, minimal apoptosis was observed, followed by a sharp rise in the apoptotic index at higher concentrations in both cell lines. After treatment of NRK-52E cells with 2.0 mM polymyxin B, the percentage of apoptotic cells (mean ± standard deviation [SD]) was 10.9% ± 4.69% at 6 h and reached plateau (>80%) at 24 h, whereas treatment with 0.5 mM polymyxin B for 24 h led to 93.6% ± 5.57% of HK-2 cells in apoptosis. Understanding the mechanism of polymyxin B-induced apoptosis will provide important information for discovering less nephrotoxic polymyxin-like lipopeptides.
PMCID: PMC3754291  PMID: 23796937
4.  Species-Dependent Blood-Brain Barrier Disruption of Lipopolysaccharide: Amelioration by Colistin In Vitro and In Vivo 
The aim of this study was to use in vitro and in vivo models to assess the impact of lipopolysaccharide (LPS) from two different bacterial species on blood-brain barrier (BBB) integrity and brain uptake of colistin. Following repeated administration of LPS from Pseudomonas aeruginosa, the brain-to-plasma ratio of [14C]sucrose in Swiss outbred mice was not significantly increased. Furthermore, while the brain uptake of colistin in mice increased 3-fold following administration of LPS from Salmonella enterica, LPS from P. aeruginosa had no significant effect on colistin brain uptake. This apparent species-dependent effect did not appear to correlate with differences in plasma cytokine levels, as the concentrations of tumor necrosis factor alpha and interleukin-6 following administration of each LPS were not different (P > 0.05). To clarify whether this species-specific effect of LPS was due to direct effects on the BBB, human brain capillary endothelial (hCMEC/D3) cells were treated with LPS from P. aeruginosa or S. enterica and claudin-5 expression was measured by Western blotting. S. enterica LPS significantly (P < 0.05) reduced claudin-5 expression at a concentration of 7.5 μg/ml. In contrast, P. aeruginosa LPS decreased (P < 0.05) claudin-5 expression only at the highest concentration tested (i.e., 30 μg/ml). Coadministration of therapeutic concentrations of colistin ameliorated the S. enterica LPS-induced reduction in claudin-5 expression in hCMEC/D3 cells and the perturbation in BBB function in mice. This study demonstrates that BBB disruption induced by LPS is species dependent, at least between P. aeruginosa and S. enterica, and can be ameliorated by colistin.
PMCID: PMC3754325  PMID: 23796941
5.  Relationship between Trough Plasma and Epithelial Lining Fluid Concentrations of Voriconazole in Lung Transplant Recipients 
Trough (predose) voriconazole concentrations in plasma and pulmonary epithelial lining fluid (ELF) of lung transplant recipients receiving oral voriconazole preemptive treatment were determined. The mean (± standard deviation [SD]) ELF/plasma ratio was 12.5 ± 6.3. A strong positive linear relationship was noted between trough plasma and ELF voriconazole concentrations (r2 = 0.87), suggesting the feasibility of using trough plasma voriconazole concentration as a surrogate to estimate the corresponding concentration in ELF of lung transplant recipients.
PMCID: PMC3754345  PMID: 23817382
6.  Synergistic Activity of Colistin and Rifampin Combination against Multidrug-Resistant Acinetobacter baumannii in an In Vitro Pharmacokinetic/Pharmacodynamic Model 
Combination therapy may be required for multidrug-resistant (MDR) Acinetobacter baumannii. This study systematically investigated bacterial killing and emergence of colistin resistance with colistin and rifampin combinations against MDR A. baumannii. Studies were conducted over 72 h in an in vitro pharmacokinetic (PK)/pharmacodynamic (PD) model at inocula of ∼106 and ∼108 CFU/ml using two MDR clinical isolates of A. baumannii, FADDI-AB030 (colistin susceptible) and FADDI-AB156 (colistin resistant). Three combination regimens achieving clinically relevant concentrations (constant colistin concentration of 0.5, 2, or 5 mg/liter and a rifampin maximum concentration [Cmax] of 5 mg/liter every 24 hours; half-life, 3 h) were investigated. Microbiological response was measured by serial bacterial counts. Population analysis profiles assessed emergence of colistin resistance. Against both isolates, combinations resulted in substantially greater killing at the low inoculum; combinations containing 2 and 5 mg/liter colistin increased killing at the high inoculum. Combinations were additive or synergistic at 6, 24, 48, and 72 h with all colistin concentrations against FADDI-AB030 and FADDI-AB156 in, respectively, 8 and 11 of 12 cases (i.e., all 3 combinations) at the 106-CFU/ml inoculum and 8 and 7 of 8 cases with the 2- and 5-mg/liter colistin regimens at the 108-CFU/ml inoculum. For FADDI-AB156, killing by the combination was ∼2.5 to 7.5 and ∼2.5 to 5 log10 CFU/ml greater at the low inoculum (all colistin concentrations) and high inoculum (2 and 5 mg/liter colistin), respectively. Emergence of colistin-resistant subpopulations was completely suppressed in the colistin-susceptible isolate with all combinations at both inocula. Our study provides important information for optimizing colistin-rifampin combinations against colistin-susceptible and -resistant MDR A. baumannii.
PMCID: PMC3719722  PMID: 23716052
7.  Drug-binding energetics of human α-1-acid glycoprotein assessed by isothermal titration calorimetry and molecular docking simulations 
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.
PMCID: PMC3513776  PMID: 23192962
human α-1-acid glycoprotein; thermodynamics; drug binding
8.  Pharmacokinetics and pharmacodynamics of ‘old’ polymyxins: what is new? 
‘Old’ colistin and polymyxin B are increasingly used as last-line therapy against multidrug-resistant Gram-negative bacteria Pseudomonas aeruginosa, Acinetobacter baumannii and Klebsiella pneumoniae. For intravenous administration, colistin is dosed as its inactive prodrug colistin methanesulfonate (sodium), while polymyxin B is used as its sulfate (active antibacterial). Over the last decade significant progress has been made in understanding their chemistry, pharmacokinetics (PK) and pharmacodynamics (PD). The first scientifically based dosing suggestions are now available for colistin methanesulfonate to generate a desired target steady-state plasma concentration of formed colistin in various categories of critically-ill patients. As simply increasing polymyxin dosage regimens is not an option for optimizing their PK/PD due to nephrotoxicity, combination therapy with other antibiotics has great potential to maximize the efficacy of polymyxins while minimizing emergence of resistance. We must pursue rational approaches to the use of polymyxins and other existing antibiotics through the application of PK/PD principles.
PMCID: PMC3477253  PMID: 22959816
Colistin; polymyxin B; pharmacokinetics; pharmacodynamics
9.  Cell surface hydrophobicity of colistin-susceptible versus -resistant Acinetobacter baumannii determined by contact angles: methodological considerations and implications 
Journal of applied microbiology  2012;113(4):940-951.
Contact angle analysis of cell surface hydrophobicity (CSH) describes the tendency of a water droplet to spread across a lawn of filtered bacterial cells. Colistin-induced disruption of the Gram-negative outer membrane necessitates hydrophobic contacts with lipopolysaccharide (LPS). We aimed to characterize the CSH of Acinetobacter baumannii using contact angles, to provide insight into the mechanism of colistin resistance.
Contact angles were analysed for five paired colistin-susceptible and -resistant A. baumannii strains. Drainage of the water droplet through bacterial layers was demonstrated to influence results. Consequently, measurements were performed 0.66-sec after droplet deposition. Colistin-resistant cells exhibited lower contact angles (38.8±2.8° to 46.8±1.3°) compared to their paired-susceptible strains (40.7±3.0° to 48.0±1.4°; ANOVA; p<0.05). Contact angles increased at stationary phase (50.3±2.9° to 61.5±2.5° and 47.4±2.0° to 50.8±3.2°, susceptible and resistant, respectively, ANOVA; p<0.05), and in response to colistin 32-mgL−1 exposure (44.5±1.5° to 50.6±2.8° and 43.5±2.2° to 48.0±2.2°, susceptible and resistant, respectively; ANOVA; p<0.05). Analysis of complemented strains constructed with an intact lpxA gene, or empty vector, highlighted the contribution of LPS to CSH.
Compositional outer-membrane variations likely account for CSH differences between A. baumannii phenotypes, which influence the hydrophobic colistin-bacterium interaction.
Important insight into the mechanism of colistin resistance has been provided. Greater consideration of contact angle mehodology is nescessary to ensure accurate analyses are performed.
PMCID: PMC3434258  PMID: 22574702
Antimicrobials; Lipopolysaccharide; Mechanism of Action
10.  Interaction of Colistin and Colistin Methanesulfonate with Liposomes: Colloidal Aspects and Implications for Formulation 
Journal of pharmaceutical sciences  2012;101(9):3347-3359.
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.
PMCID: PMC3437939  PMID: 22623044
colistin; polymyxin E; micelle; stability; self-assembly; liposome; controlled release/delivery; colloid
11.  Lipopolysaccharide-Deficient Acinetobacter baumannii Shows Altered Signaling through Host Toll-Like Receptors and Increased Susceptibility to the Host Antimicrobial Peptide LL-37 
Infection and Immunity  2013;81(3):684-689.
Infections caused by multidrug-resistant Acinetobacter baumannii have emerged as a serious global health problem. We have shown previously that A. baumannii can become resistant to the last-line antibiotic colistin via the loss of lipopolysaccharide (LPS), including the lipid A anchor, from the outer membrane (J. H. Moffatt, M. Harper, P. Harrison, J. D. Hale, E. Vinogradov, T. Seemann, R. Henry, B. Crane, F. St. Michael, A. D. Cox, B. Adler, R. L. Nation, J. Li, and J. D. Boyce, Antimicrob. Agents Chemother. 54:4971–4977, 2010). Here, we show how these LPS-deficient bacteria interact with components of the host innate immune system. LPS-deficient A. baumannii stimulated 2- to 4-fold lower levels of NF-κB activation and tumor necrosis factor alpha (TNF-α) secretion from immortalized murine macrophages, but it still elicited low levels of TNF-α secretion via a Toll-like receptor 2-dependent mechanism. Furthermore, we show that while LPS-deficient A. baumannii was not altered in its resistance to human serum, it showed increased susceptibility to the human antimicrobial peptide LL-37. Thus, LPS-deficient, colistin-resistant A. baumannii shows significantly altered activation of the host innate immune inflammatory response.
PMCID: PMC3584870  PMID: 23250952
12.  Drug release from nanomedicines: Selection of appropriate encapsulation and release methodology 
The characterization of encapsulation efficiency and in vitro drug release from nanoparticle-based formulations often requires the separation of nanoparticles from unencapsulated drug. Inefficient separation of nanoparticles from the medium in which they are dispersed can lead to inaccurate estimates of encapsulation efficiency and drug release. This study establishes dynamic light scattering as a simple method for substantiation of the effectiveness of the separation process. Colistin-loaded liposomes, as an exemplar nano-sized delivery particle, were diluted to construct a calibration curve relating the amount of light scattering to liposome concentration. Dynamic light scattering revealed that, in the case of ultracentrifugation and centrifugal ultrafiltration, approximately 2.9% of the total liposomes remained in supernatants or filtrates, respectively. In comparison, filtrates obtained using pressure ultrafiltration contained less than 0.002% of the total liposomes from the formulation. Subsequent release studies using dialysis misleadingly implied a slow release of colistin over >48 h. In contrast, pressure ultrafiltration revealed immediate equilibration to the equilibrium distribution of colistin between the liposome and aqueous phases upon dilution. Pressure ultrafiltration is therefore recommended as the optimal method of choice for studying release kinetics of drug from nanomedicine carriers.
PMCID: PMC3482165  PMID: 23110256
Nanoparticle; dynamic light scattering; encapsulation efficiency; in vitro release; centrifuge ultrafiltration; ultracentrifugation; pressure ultrafiltration
13.  Colistin in the 21st Century 
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.
Recent findings
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.
PMCID: PMC2869076  PMID: 19797945
colistin; approaches to optimizing therapy; Gram-negative infections
14.  The Combination of Colistin and Doripenem Is Synergistic against Klebsiella pneumoniae at Multiple Inocula and Suppresses Colistin Resistance in an In Vitro Pharmacokinetic/Pharmacodynamic Model 
Antimicrobial Agents and Chemotherapy  2012;56(10):5103-5112.
Multidrug-resistant (MDR) Klebsiella pneumoniae may require combination therapy. We systematically investigated bacterial killing with colistin and doripenem mono- and combination therapy against MDR K. pneumoniae and emergence of colistin resistance. A one-compartment in vitro pharmacokinetic/pharmacodynamic model was employed over a 72-h period with two inocula (∼106 and ∼108 CFU/ml); a colistin-heteroresistant reference strain (ATCC 13883) and three clinical isolates (colistin-susceptible FADDI-KP032 [doripenem resistant], colistin-heteroresistant FADDI-KP033, and colistin-resistant FADDI-KP035) were included. Four combinations utilizing clinically achievable concentrations were investigated. Microbiological responses were examined by determining log changes and population analysis profiles (for emergence of colistin resistance) over 72 h. Against colistin-susceptible and -heteroresistant isolates, combinations of colistin (constant concentration regimens of 0.5 or 2 mg/liter) plus doripenem (steady-state peak concentration [Cmax] of 2.5 or 25 mg/liter over 8 h; half-life, 1.5 h) generally resulted in substantial improvements in bacterial killing at both inocula. Combinations were additive or synergistic against ATCC 13883, FADDI-KP032, and FADDI-KP033 in 9, 9, and 14 of 16 cases (4 combinations at 6, 24, 48, and 72 h) at the 106-CFU/ml inoculum and 14, 11, and 12 of 16 cases at the 108-CFU/ml inoculum, respectively. Combinations at the highest dosage regimens resulted in undetectable bacterial counts at 72 h in 5 of 8 cases (4 isolates at 2 inocula). Emergence of colistin-resistant subpopulations in colistin-susceptible and -heteroresistant isolates was virtually eliminated with combination therapy. Against the colistin-resistant isolate, colistin at 2 mg/liter plus doripenem (Cmax, 25 mg/liter) at the low inoculum improved bacterial killing. This investigation provides important information for optimization of colistin-doripenem combinations.
PMCID: PMC3457376  PMID: 22802247
15.  Effect of Systemic Infection Induced by Pseudomonas aeruginosa on the Brain Uptake of Colistin in Mice 
Antimicrobial Agents and Chemotherapy  2012;56(10):5240-5246.
In view of reports of colistin-induced neurotoxicity in infected patients, the aim of this study was to assess whether the integrity of the blood-brain barrier (BBB) and the brain uptake of colistin are altered in the presence of systemic Pseudomonas aeruginosa infection. Bacteremia was confirmed 8 h after intramuscular administration of P. aeruginosa ATCC 27853 to Swiss Outbred mice, at which time a single subcutaneous dose of colistin sulfate (40 mg/kg of body weight) or an intravenous dose of [14C]sucrose (2 μCi) was administered. Despite a substantial elevation in plasma levels of the proinflammatory cytokines tumor necrosis factor alpha, interleukin-1β, and interleukin-6 during bacterial infection, the brain uptake of colistin was similar between infected and noninfected mice with AUCbrain/AUCplasma (where AUCbrain is the area under the brain concentration-time curve and AUCplasma is the area under the plasma concentration-time curve) ratios of 0.023 and 0.024, respectively. Similarly, the brain-to-plasma ratios of [14C]sucrose were no different between infected and noninfected mice, consistent with a lack of effect of bacteremia on BBB integrity. To further correlate any relationship between BBB disruption and plasma levels of proinflammatory cytokines, BBB integrity, colistin brain uptake, and plasma proinflammatory cytokines were measured following the administration of Salmonella enterica lipopolysaccharide (LPS), an agent known to induce BBB disruption. Despite LPS inducing a 4-fold increase in colistin brain uptake and a significant (P < 0.05) 1.2-fold increase in [14C]sucrose BBB penetration, plasma cytokine levels were lower with LPS treatment relative to those obtained with bacterial infection with P. aeruginosa. This study demonstrates that the brain uptake of colistin is not increased in mice during P. aeruginosa-induced systemic bacteremia despite a significant increase in plasma levels of three proinflammatory cytokines.
PMCID: PMC3457411  PMID: 22850514
16.  Ascorbic acid protects against the nephrotoxicity and apoptosis caused by colistin and affects its pharmacokinetics 
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.
PMCID: PMC3254197  PMID: 22127588
polymyxin E; vitamin C; rat kidney tubular cells
17.  Molecular Characterization of Lipopolysaccharide Binding to Human α-1-Acid Glycoprotein 
Journal of Lipids  2012;2012:475153.
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.
PMCID: PMC3539403  PMID: 23316371
18.  Dosing of colistin – back to basic PK/PD 
Current opinion in pharmacology  2011;11(5):464-469.
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.
PMCID: PMC3183124  PMID: 21835694
19.  Structure–activity relationships for the binding of polymyxins with human α-1-acid glycoprotein 
Biochemical pharmacology  2012;84(3):278-291.
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.
PMCID: PMC3448962  PMID: 22587817
Human α-1-acid glycoprotein; Binding affinity; Polymyxin; Colistin
20.  Effect of colistin exposure and growth phase on the surface properties of live Acinetobacter baumannii cells examined by atomic force microscopy 
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.
PMCID: PMC3433558  PMID: 21925844
Atomic force microscopy; Colistin; Acinetobacter baumannii; Morphology; Surface properties
21.  Colistin-Resistant, Lipopolysaccharide-Deficient Acinetobacter baumannii Responds to Lipopolysaccharide Loss through Increased Expression of Genes Involved in the Synthesis and Transport of Lipoproteins, Phospholipids, and Poly-β-1,6-N-Acetylglucosamine 
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.
PMCID: PMC3256090  PMID: 22024825
22.  Synergistic Killing of Multidrug-Resistant Pseudomonas aeruginosa at Multiple Inocula by Colistin Combined with Doripenem in an In Vitro Pharmacokinetic/Pharmacodynamic Model ▿ 
Antimicrobial Agents and Chemotherapy  2011;55(12):5685-5695.
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.
PMCID: PMC3232764  PMID: 21911563
23.  Clinically Relevant Plasma Concentrations of Colistin in Combination with Imipenem Enhance Pharmacodynamic Activity against Multidrug-Resistant Pseudomonas aeruginosa at Multiple Inocula▿† 
Antimicrobial Agents and Chemotherapy  2011;55(11):5134-5142.
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.
PMCID: PMC3195049  PMID: 21876058
24.  Melatonin Attenuates Colistin-Induced Nephrotoxicity in Rats▿ 
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.
PMCID: PMC3165279  PMID: 21709095
25.  Carbapenem Resistance in Klebsiella pneumoniae Due to the New Delhi Metallo-β-lactamase 
(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.
PMCID: PMC3106237  PMID: 21258100

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