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1.  Trends in Susceptibility of Vancomycin-Resistant Enterococcus faecium to Tigecycline, Daptomycin, and Linezolid and Molecular Epidemiology of the Isolates: Results from the Tigecycline In Vitro Surveillance in Taiwan (TIST) Study, 2006 to 2010 
Among the 219 vancomycin-resistant Enterococcus faecium isolates collected in 20 Taiwanese hospitals from 2006 to 2010, all were susceptible to linezolid and daptomycin, and 98.6% were susceptible to tigecycline. There was a shift toward higher tigecycline MIC values (MIC90s) from 2006-2007 (0.06 μg/ml) to 2008–2010 (0.12 μg/ml). The MIC90s of daptomycin and linezolid remained stationary. Although pulsotypes among the isolates from the 20 hospitals varied, intrahospital spreading of several clones was identified in 13 hospitals.
PMCID: PMC3370810  PMID: 22491684
2.  Agreement Assessment of Tigecycline Susceptibilities Determined by the Disk Diffusion and Broth Microdilution Methods among Commonly Encountered Resistant Bacterial Isolates: Results from the Tigecycline In Vitro Surveillance in Taiwan (TIST) Study, 2008 to 2010 
The Tigecycline In Vitro Surveillance in Taiwan (TIST) study, initiated in 2006, is a nationwide surveillance program designed to longitudinally monitor the in vitro activity of tigecycline against commonly encountered drug-resistant bacteria. This study compared the in vitro activity of tigecycline against 3,014 isolates of clinically important drug-resistant bacteria using the standard broth microdilution and disk diffusion methods. Species studied included methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA; n = 759), vancomycin-resistant Enterococcus faecium (VRE; n = 191), extended-spectrum β-lactamase (ESBL)-producing Escherichia coli (n = 602), ESBL-producing Klebsiella pneumoniae (n = 736), and Acinetobacter baumannii (n = 726) that had been collected from patients treated between 2008 and 2010 at 20 hospitals in Taiwan. MICs and inhibition zone diameters were interpreted according to the currently recommended U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) criteria and the European Committee on Antimicrobial Susceptibility Testing (EUCAST) criteria. The MIC90 values of tigecycline against MRSA, VRE, ESBL-producing E. coli, ESBL-producing K. pneumoniae, and A. baumannii were 0.5, 0.125, 0.5, 2, and 8 μg/ml, respectively. The total error rates between the two methods using the FDA criteria were high: 38.4% for ESBL-producing K. pneumoniae and 33.8% for A. baumannii. Using the EUCAST criteria, the total error rate was also high (54.6%) for A. baumannii isolates. The total error rates between these two methods were <5% for MRSA, VRE, and ESBL-producing E. coli. For routine susceptibility testing of ESBL-producing K. pneumoniae and A. baumannii against tigecycline, the broth microdilution method should be used because of the poor correlation of results between these two methods.
PMCID: PMC3294924  PMID: 22155819
3.  Trends in the Susceptibility of Clinically Important Resistant Bacteria to Tigecycline: Results from the Tigecycline In Vitro Surveillance in Taiwan Study, 2006 to 2010 
The Tigecycline In Vitro Surveillance in Taiwan (TIST) study, a nationwide, prospective surveillance during 2006 to 2010, collected a total of 7,793 clinical isolates, including methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) (n = 1,834), penicillin-resistant Streptococcus pneumoniae (PRSP) (n = 423), vancomycin-resistant enterococci (VRE) (n = 219), extended-spectrum β-lactamase (ESBL)-producing Escherichia coli (n = 1,141), ESBL-producing Klebsiella pneumoniae (n = 1,330), Acinetobacter baumannii (n = 1,645), and Stenotrophomonas maltophilia (n = 903), from different specimens from 20 different hospitals in Taiwan. MICs of tigecycline were determined following the criteria of the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and the European Committee on Antimicrobial Susceptibility Testing (EUCAST-2011). Among drug-resistant Gram-positive pathogens, all of the PRSP isolates were susceptible to tigecycline (MIC90, 0.03 μg/ml), and only one MRSA isolate (MIC90, 0.5 μg/ml) and three VRE isolates (MIC90, 0.125 μg/ml) were nonsusceptible to tigecycline. Among the Gram-negative bacteria, the tigecycline susceptibility rates were 99.65% for ESBL-producing E. coli (MIC90, 0.5 μg/ml) and 96.32% for ESBL-producing K. pneumoniae (MIC90, 2 μg/ml) when interpreted by FDA criteria but were 98.7% and 85.8%, respectively, when interpreted by EUCAST-2011 criteria. The susceptibility rate for A. baumannii (MIC90, 4 μg/ml) decreased from 80.9% in 2006 to 55.3% in 2009 but increased to 73.4% in 2010. A bimodal MIC distribution was found among carbapenem-susceptible A. baumannii isolates, and a unimodal MIC distribution was found among carbapenem-nonsusceptible A. baumannii isolates. In Taiwan, tigecycline continues to have excellent in vitro activity against several major clinically important drug-resistant bacteria, with the exception of A. baumannii.
PMCID: PMC3294947  PMID: 22203598
4.  Molecular Characterization of Multidrug-Resistant Mycobacterium tuberculosis Isolates from China 
To investigate the molecular characterization of multidrug-resistant tuberculosis (MDR-TB) isolates from China and the association of specific mutations conferring drug resistance with strains of different genotypes, we performed spoligotyping and sequenced nine loci (katG, inhA, the oxyR-ahpC intergenic region, rpoB, tlyA, eis, rrs, gyrA, and gyrB) for 128 MDR-TB isolates. Our results showed that 108 isolates (84.4%) were Beijing family strains, 64 (59.3%) of which were identified as modern Beijing strains. Compared with the phenotypic data, the sensitivity and specificity of DNA sequencing were 89.1% and 100.0%, respectively, for isoniazid (INH) resistance, 93.8% and 100.0% for rifampin (RIF) resistance, 60.0% and 99.4% for capreomycin (CAP) resistance, 84.6% and 99.4% for kanamycin (KAN) resistance, and 90.0% and 100.0% for ofloxacin (OFX) resistance. The most prevalent mutations among the MDR-TB isolates were katG315, inhA15, rpoB531, -526, and -516, rrs1401, eis-10, and gyrA94, -90, and -91. Furthermore, there was no association between specific resistance-conferring mutations and the strain genotype. These findings will be helpful for the establishment of rapid molecular diagnostic methods to be implemented in China.
PMCID: PMC4023728  PMID: 24419342
5.  Severe Sepsis Facilitates Intestinal Colonization by Extended-Spectrum-β-Lactamase-Producing Klebsiella pneumoniae and Transfer of the SHV-18 Resistance Gene to Escherichia coli during Antimicrobial Treatment 
Infections caused by multidrug-resistant pathogens are frequent and life threatening in critically ill patients. To investigate whether severe sepsis affects gut colonization by resistant pathogens and genetic exchange between opportunistic pathogens, we tested the intestinal-colonization ability of an extended-spectrum beta-lactamase-producing Klebsiella pneumoniae strain carrying the SHV-18 resistance gene and the transfer ability of the resistance gene to endogenous Escherichia coli under ceftriaxone treatment in rats with burn injury only or severe sepsis induced by burns plus endotoxin exposure. Without ceftriaxone treatment, the K. pneumoniae strain colonized the intestine in both septic and burned rats for a short time, with clearance occurring earlier in burn-only rats but never in sham burn rats. In both burned and septic rats, the colonization level of the challenge strain dropped at the beginning and then later increased during ceftriaxone treatment, after which it declined gradually. This pattern coincided with the change in resistance of K. pneumoniae to ceftriaxone during and after ceftriaxone treatment. Compared with burn-only injury, severe sepsis had a more significant effect on the change in antimicrobial resistance to ceftriaxone. Only in septic rats was the resistance gene successfully transferred from the challenge strain to endogenous E. coli during ceftriaxone treatment; the gene persisted for at least 4 weeks after ceftriaxone treatment. We concluded that severe sepsis can facilitate intestinal colonization by an exogenous resistant pathogen and the transfer of the resistance gene to a potential endogenous pathogen during antimicrobial treatment.
PMCID: PMC3910833  PMID: 24277046
7.  First Report of the Multiresistance Gene cfr in Streptococcus suis 
The multiresistance gene cfr was identified for the first time in streptococci, namely, in porcine Streptococcus suis isolate S10. The cfr gene was detected on the ∼100-kb plasmid pStrcfr, where it was bracketed by two copies of the novel insertion sequence ISEnfa5, located in the same orientation. The detection of a cfr- and ISEnfa5-containing amplicon by inverse PCR suggests that ISEnfa5 may play a role in the dissemination of cfr.
PMCID: PMC3719703  PMID: 23733472
8.  CTX-M-123, a Novel Hybrid of the CTX-M-1 and CTX-M-9 Group β-Lactamases Recovered from Escherichia coli Isolates in China 
The chimeric blaCTX-M-123 gene was identified in two ceftazidime-resistant Escherichia coli isolates from animals in different Chinese provinces. Like other CTX-M-1/9 group hybrids (CTX-M-64 and CTX-M-132), the ends (amino acids 1 to 135 and 234 to 291) of CTX-M-123 match CTX-M-15 while the central part (122 to 241) matches CTX-M-14. blaCTX-M-123 is carried on related, but not identical, ∼90-kb IncI1 plasmids in the two isolates, and one isolate simultaneously carries the group 1 blaCTX-M-55 gene on an additional IncI2 plasmid.
PMCID: PMC3719705  PMID: 23752509
9.  Interaction of the Echinocandin Caspofungin with Amphotericin B or Voriconazole against Aspergillus Biofilms In Vitro 
Antimicrobial Agents and Chemotherapy  2012;56(12):6414-6416.
Aspergillus biofilms were prepared from 22 strains of Aspergillus spp. via a 96-well plate-based method. Using a broth microdilution checkerboard technique with the XTT [2,3-bis-(2-methoxy-4-nitro-5-sulfophenyl)-2H-tetrazolium-5-carboxanilide] colorimetric assay, we demonstrated a synergistic antifungal activity against 18 of 22 Aspergillus biofilm strains with a combination of caspofungin and amphotericin B and against 13 of 22 strains with a combination of caspofungin and voriconazole. We did not observe antagonism.
PMCID: PMC3497162  PMID: 23027186
10.  Effects of 14-Alpha-Lipoyl Andrographolide on Quorum Sensing in Pseudomonas aeruginosa 
Antimicrobial Agents and Chemotherapy  2012;56(12):6088-6094.
In Pseudomonas aeruginosa, the quorum-sensing (QS) system is closely related to biofilm formation. We previously demonstrated that 14-alpha-lipoyl andrographolide (AL-1) has synergistic effects on antibiofilm and antivirulence factors (pyocyanin and exopolysaccharide) of P. aeruginosa when combined with conventional antibiotics, while it has little inhibitory effect on its growth. However, its molecular mechanism remains elusive. Here we investigated the effect of AL-1 on QS systems, especially the Las and Rhl systems. This investigation showed that AL-1 can inhibit LasR–3-oxo-C12-homoserine lactone (HSL) interactions and repress the transcriptional level of QS-regulated genes. Reverse transcription (RT)-PCR data showed that AL-1 significantly reduced the expression levels of lasR, lasI, rhlR, and rhlI in a dose-dependent manner. AL-1 not only decreased the expression level of Psl, which is positively regulated by the Las system, but also increased the level of secretion of ExoS, which is negatively regulated by the Rhl system, indicating that AL-1 has multiple effects on both the Las and Rhl systems. It is no wonder that AL-1 showed synergistic effects with other antimicrobial agents in the treatment of P. aeruginosa infections.
PMCID: PMC3497202  PMID: 22802260
11.  Inhibitors of Reactive Oxygen Species Accumulation Delay and/or Reduce the Lethality of Several Antistaphylococcal Agents 
Antimicrobial Agents and Chemotherapy  2012;56(11):6048-6050.
Perturbation of hydroxyl radical accumulation by subinhibitory concentrations of 2,2′-bipyridyl plus thiourea protects Escherichia coli from being killed by 3 lethal antimicrobial classes. Here, we show that 2,2′-bipyridyl plus thiourea delays and/or reduces antimicrobial killing of Staphylococcus aureus by daptomycin, moxifloxacin, and oxacillin. While the protective effect of 2,2′-bipyridyl plus thiourea varied among strains and compounds, the data support the hypothesis that hydroxyl radical enhances antimicrobial lethality.
PMCID: PMC3486621  PMID: 22948880
12.  The T788G Mutation in the cyp51C Gene Confers Voriconazole Resistance in Aspergillus flavus Causing Aspergillosis 
With voriconazole (VRC) being approved as the first choice in treating invasive aspergillosis (IA) and its increasing use in treatment, a VRC-resistant strain of Aspergillus flavus, the second leading cause of IA after Aspergillus fumigatus, has emerged. The VRC-resistant strain of A. flavus was isolated for the first time from the surgical lung specimen of an IA patient with no response to VRC therapy. In order to ascertain the mechanism of VRC resistance, the azole target enzyme genes in this strain of A. flavus were cloned and sequenced, and 4 mutations generating amino acid residue substitutions were found in the cyp51C gene. To further determine the role of this mutated gene for VRC resistance in A. flavus, an Agrobacterium tumefaciens-mediated gene replacement approach was applied. Consequently, the mutated cyp51C gene from this A. flavus strain was proven to confer the VRC resistance. Finally, to discern the one out of the four mutations in the cyp51C gene that is responsible for contributing to VRC resistance, a site-directed gene mutagenesis procedure combined with a gene replacement method was performed. As a result, the T788G missense mutation in the cyp51C gene was identified as responsible for VRC resistance in A. flavus. These findings indicated that the detection of this mutation in A. flavus could serve as an indicator for physicians to avoid the use of VRC during IA treatment. Further comprehensive surveillance for antifungal susceptibility, as well as intensive study on the mechanism of azole resistance in A. flavus causing IA, would be required to fully understand this mechanism.
PMCID: PMC3346632  PMID: 22314539
13.  F18, a Novel Small-Molecule Nonnucleoside Reverse Transcriptase Inhibitor, Inhibits HIV-1 Replication Using Distinct Binding Motifs as Demonstrated by Resistance Selection and Docking Analysis 
Nonnucleoside reverse transcriptase inhibitors (NNRTIs) are one of the key components of antiretroviral therapy drug regimen against human immunodeficiency virus type 1 (HIV-1) replication. We previously described a newly synthesized small molecule, 10-chloromethyl-11-demethyl-12-oxo-calanolide A (F18), a (+)-calanolide A analog, as a novel anti-HIV-1 NNRTI (H. Xue et al., J. Med. Chem. 53:1397–1401, 2010). Here, we further investigated its antiviral range, drug resistance profile, and underlying mechanism of action. F18 consistently displayed potent activity against primary HIV-1 isolates, including various subtypes of group M, circulating recombinant form (CRF) 01_AE, and laboratory-adapted drug-resistant viruses. Moreover, F18 displayed distinct profiles against 17 NNRTI-resistant pseudoviruses, with an excellent potency especially against one of the most prevalent strains with the Y181C mutation (50% effective concentration, 1.0 nM), which was in stark contrast to the extensively used NNRTIs nevirapine and efavirenz. Moreover, we induced F18-resistant viruses by in vitro serial passages and found that the mutation L100I appeared to be the dominant contributor to F18 resistance, further suggesting a binding motif different from that of nevirapine and efavirenz. F18 was nonantagonistic when used in combination with other antiretrovirals against both wild-type and drug-resistant viruses in infected peripheral blood mononuclear cells. Interestingly, F18 displayed a highly synergistic antiviral effect with nevirapine against nevirapine-resistant virus (Y181C). Furthermore, in silico docking analysis suggested that F18 may bind to the HIV-1 reverse transcriptase differently from other NNRTIs. This study presents F18 as a new potential drug for clinical use and also presents a new mechanism-based design for future NNRTI.
PMCID: PMC3256034  PMID: 22037848
14.  F33:A−:B− and F2:A−:B− Plasmids Mediate Dissemination of rmtB-blaCTX-M-9 Group Genes and rmtB-qepA in Enterobacteriaceae Isolates from Pets in China▿ 
Antimicrobial Agents and Chemotherapy  2011;55(10):4926-4929.
This study investigated the prevalence of 16S rRNA methylase genes in 267 Enterobacteriaceae isolates collected from pets. The rmtB gene was detected in 69 isolates, most of which were clonally unrelated. The coexistence of the rmtB gene with the blaCTX-M-9 group genes and/or qepA within the same IncFII replicons was commonly detected. The two dominant types of IncF plasmids, F2:A−:B−, carrying rmtB-qepA, and F33:A−:B−, carrying the rmtB-blaCTX-M-9 group genes (and especially blaCTX-M-65), shared restriction patterns within each incompatibility group.
PMCID: PMC3186975  PMID: 21788459
15.  Structural and Binding Analysis of Pyrimidinol Carboxylic Acid and N-Hydroxy Quinazolinedione HIV-1 RNase H Inhibitors▿ 
HIV-1 RNase H breaks down the intermediate RNA-DNA hybrids during reverse transcription, requiring two divalent metal ions for activity. Pyrimidinol carboxylic acid and N-hydroxy quinazolinedione inhibitors were designed to coordinate the two metal ions in the active site of RNase H. High-resolution (1.4 Å to 2.1 Å) crystal structures were determined with the isolated RNase H domain and reverse transcriptase (RT), which permit accurate assessment of the metal and water environment at the active site. The geometry of the metal coordination suggests that the inhibitors mimic a substrate state prior to phosphodiester catalysis. Surface plasmon resonance studies confirm metal-dependent binding to RNase H and demonstrate that the inhibitors do not bind at the polymerase active site of RT. Additional evaluation of the RNase H site reveals an open protein surface with few additional interactions to optimize active-site inhibitors.
PMCID: PMC3101433  PMID: 21464257
16.  Prevalence and Dissemination of oqxAB in Escherichia coli Isolates from Animals, Farmworkers, and the Environment▿  
Antimicrobial Agents and Chemotherapy  2010;54(10):4219-4224.
OqxAB has recently been identified as one of the mechanisms of plasmid-mediated quinolone resistance (PMQR). Compared to what is observed for other PMQR determinants, there is a paucity of data with regard to the prevalence and epidemiology of OqxAB and its contribution to resistance to different antimicrobials. In this study, the prevalence and dissemination of oqxAB and other PMQR genes in Escherichia coli isolates from animals, farmworkers, and the environment in 2002 in China were investigated. Of the 172 E. coli isolates, 39.0% carried oqxA, while only 4.1%, 2.9%, and 0.6% carried qnr (1 qnrB6 isolate, 5 qnrS1 isolates, and 1 qnrD isolate), qepA, and aac(6′)-Ib-cr, respectively. Among the 33 isolates from farmworkers, 10 (30.3%) were positive for oqxA. oqxAB was associated with IS26 and was carried on the 43- to 115-kb IncF transferable plasmid. Transconjugants carrying oqxAB showed 4- to 16-fold increases in the MICs of quinolones, 16- to 64-fold increases in the MICs of quinoxalines, 8- to 32-fold increases in the MICs of chloramphenicol and trimethoprim-sulfamethoxazole, and 4- to 8-fold increases in the MICs of florfenicol compared to the levels for the recipient. The pulsed-field gel electrophoresis (PFGE) analysis showed that the high levels of prevalence and dissemination of oqxAB in E. coli in animal farms were primarily due to the transmission of plasmids carrying oqxAB, although clonal transmission between human and swine E. coli isolates was observed. It is concluded that oqxAB was widespread in animal farms in China, which may be due to the overuse of quinoxalines in animals. This study warrants the prudent use of quinoxalines in food animals.
PMCID: PMC2944610  PMID: 20696876
18.  Engineered Vaginal Lactobacillus Strain for Mucosal Delivery of the Human Immunodeficiency Virus Inhibitor Cyanovirin-N 
Antimicrobial Agents and Chemotherapy  2006;50(10):3250-3259.
Women are at significant risk of human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) infection, with the cervicovaginal mucosa serving as a major portal for virus entry. Female-initiated preventatives, including topical microbicides, are urgently needed to help curtail the HIV/AIDS pandemic. Here we report on the development of a novel, live microbicide that employs a natural vaginal strain of Lactobacillus jensenii engineered to deliver the potent HIV inhibitor cyanovirin-N (CV-N). To facilitate efficient expression of CV-N by this bacterium, the L. jensenii 1153 genome was sequenced, allowing identification of native regulatory elements and sites for the chromosomal integration of heterologous genes. A CV-N expression cassette was optimized and shown to produce high levels of structurally intact CV-N when expressed in L. jensenii. Lactobacillus-derived CV-N was capable of inhibiting CCR5-tropic HIVBaL infectivity in vitro with a 50% inhibitory concentration of 0.3 nM. The CV-N expression cassette was stably integrated as a single copy into the bacterial chromosome and resolved from extraneous plasmid DNA without adversely affecting the bacterial phenotype. This bacterial strain was capable of colonizing the vagina and producing full-length CV-N when administered intravaginally to mice during estrus phase. The CV-N-producing Lactobacillus was genetically stable when propagated in vitro and in vivo. This work represents a major step towards the development of an inexpensive yet durable protein-based microbicide to block the heterosexual transmission of HIV in women.
PMCID: PMC1610104  PMID: 17005802
19.  Antifungal Susceptibilities of Clinical Isolates of Candida Species, Cryptococcus neoformans, and Aspergillus Species from Taiwan: Surveillance of Multicenter Antimicrobial Resistance in Taiwan Program Data from 2003 
The susceptibilities of nonduplicate isolates to six antifungal agents were determined for 391 blood isolates of seven Candida species, 70 clinical isolates (from blood or cerebrospinal fluid) of Cryptococcus neoformans, and 96 clinical isolates of four Aspergillus species, which were collected in seven different hospitals in Taiwan (as part of the 2003 program of the study group Surveillance of Multicenter Antimicrobial Resistance in Taiwan). All isolates of Candida species other than C. glabrata and C. krusei were susceptible to fluconazole. Among the 59 C. glabrata isolates, 16 (27%) were not susceptible to fluconazole, and all were dose-dependently susceptible or resistant to itraconazole. For three (5.1%) C. glabrata isolates, voriconazole MICs were 2 to 4 μg/ml, and for all other Candida species isolates, voriconazole MICs were ≤0.5 μg/ml. The proportions of isolates for which amphotericin B MICs were ≥2 μg/ml were 100% (3 isolates) for C. krusei, 11% (23 of 207 isolates) for Candida albicans, 3.0% (2 of 67 isolates) for Candida tropicalis, 20% (12 of 59 isolates) for C. glabrata, and 0% for both Candida parapsilosis and Candida lusitaniae. For three (4%) Cryptococcus neoformans isolates, fluconazole MICs were ≥16 μg/ml, and two (3%) isolates were not inhibited by 1 μg of amphotericin B/ml. For four (4.2%) of the Aspergillus isolates, itraconazole MICs were 8 μg/ml. Aspergillus flavus was less susceptible to amphotericin B, with the MICs at which 50% (1 μg/ml) and 90% (2 μg/ml) nsrsid417869\delrsid7301351 of isolates were inhibited being twofold greater than those for Aspergillus fumigatus and Aspergillus niger. All Aspergillus isolates were inhibited by ≤1 μg of voriconazole/ml, including isolates with increased resistance to amphotericin B and itraconazole. This study revealed the emergence in Taiwan of decreased susceptibilities of Candida species to amphotericin B and of C. neoformans to fluconazole and amphotericin B. Voriconazole was the most potent agent against the fungal isolates tested, including fluconazole- and amphotericin B-nonsusceptible strains.
PMCID: PMC547329  PMID: 15673726
20.  Inhibition of Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome Coronavirus Replication by Niclosamide 
Antiviral agents are urgently needed to fight severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS). We showed that niclosamide, an existing antihelminthic drug, was able to inhibit replication of a newly discovered coronavirus, SARS-CoV; viral antigen synthesis was totally abolished at a niclosamide concentration of 1.56 μM, as revealed by immunoblot analysis. Thus, niclosamide represents a promising drug candidate for the effective treatment of SARS-CoV infection.
PMCID: PMC434198  PMID: 15215127
21.  Telithromycin- and Fluoroquinolone-Resistant Streptococcus pneumoniae in Taiwan with High Prevalence of Resistance to Macrolides and β-Lactams: SMART Program 2001 Data 
There is a high prevalence of β-lactam- and macrolide-resistant Streptococcus pneumoniae in Taiwan. To understand the in vitro susceptibilities of recent isolates of S. pneumoniae to fluoroquinolones and telithromycin (which is not available in Taiwan), the MICs of 23 antimicrobial agents for 936 clinical isolates of S. pneumoniae isolated from different parts of Taiwan from 2000 to 2001 were determined by the agar dilution method. Overall, 72% of isolates were not susceptible to penicillin (with 61% being intermediate and 11% being resistant) and 92% were resistant to erythromycin. Telithromycin MICs were ≥1 μg/ml for 16% of the isolates, and for 99% of these isolates the MICs of all macrolides tested were ≥256 μg/ml; all of these isolates had the constitutive macrolide-lincosamide-streptogramin B phenotype. Eighty-eight percent of the isolates were resistant to three or more classes of drugs. The ciprofloxacin MICs were ≥4 μg/ml for six (0.6%) isolates from five patients collected in 2000 and 2001, and the levofloxacin MICs were ≥8 μg/ml for five of these isolates. Seven isolates for which ciprofloxacin MICs were ≥4 μg/ml, including one isolate recovered in 1999, belonged to three serotypes (serotype 19F, five isolates; serotype 23A, one isolate; and serotype 23B, one isolate). The isolates from the six patients for which ciprofloxacin MICs were ≥4 μg/ml had different pulsed-field gel electrophoresis profiles and random amplified polymorphic DNA patterns, indicating that no clonal dissemination occurred over this time period. Despite the increased rate of fluoroquinolone use, the proportion of pneumococcal isolates for which ciprofloxacin MICs were elevated (≥4 μg/ml) remained low. However, the occurrence of telithromycin resistance is impressive and raises concerns for the future.
PMCID: PMC161856  PMID: 12821460
22.  Telithromycin and Quinupristin-Dalfopristin Resistance in Clinical Isolates of Streptococcus pyogenes: SMART Program 2001 Data 
This study evaluated the current status of antimicrobial resistance in clinical isolates of Streptococcus pyogenes in Taiwan as part of the SMART (Surveillance from Multicenter Antimicrobial Resistance in Taiwan) program. In 2001, 419 different isolates of S. pyogenes, including 275 from respiratory secretions, 87 from wound pus, and 31 from blood, were collected from nine hospitals in different parts of Taiwan. MICs of 23 antimicrobial agents were determined at a central location by the agar dilution method. All of the isolates were susceptible to penicillin (MIC at which 90% of the isolates were inhibited [MIC90], ≤0.03 μg/ml), cefotaxime (MIC90, ≤0.03 μg/ml), cefepime (MIC90, 0.06 μg/ml), meropenem (MIC90, ≤0.03 μg/ml), moxifloxacin (MIC90, 0.25 μg/ml), vancomycin (MIC90, 0.5 μg/ml), and linezolid (MIC90, 1 μg/ml). Overall, 78% of isolates were not susceptible to erythromycin (54% were intermediate, and 24% were resistant), and 5% were not susceptible to clindamycin. Of the 101 erythromycin-resistant isolates, 80.2% exhibited the M phenotype (mefA gene positive), 18.9% exhibited the cMLS (constitutive resistance to macrolides-lincosamides-streptogramin B [MLS]) phenotype (ermB gene positive), and 1% exhibited the iMLS (inducible resistance to MLS) phenotype (ermB gene positive). Fluoroquinolones (sitafloxacin > moxifloxacin > ciprofloxacin = levofloxacin = gatifloxacin > gemifloxacin) demonstrated potent activity against nearly all of the isolates of S. pyogenes tested. Thirty-two isolates (8%) were not susceptible to quinupristin-dalfopristin. Seventeen percent of isolates had telithromycin MICs of ≥1 μg/ml, and all of these isolates exhibited erythromycin MICs of ≥32 μg/ml. The high prevalence of resistance to telithromycin (which is not available in Taiwan) limits its potential use in the treatment of S. pyogenes infections, particularly in areas with high rates of macrolide resistance.
PMCID: PMC161833  PMID: 12821461
23.  Efficacies of High-Dose Fluconazole plus Amphotericin B and High-Dose Fluconazole plus 5-Fluorocytosine versus Amphotericin B, Fluconazole, and 5-Fluorocytosine Monotherapies in Treatment of Experimental Endocarditis, Endophthalmitis, and Pyelonephritis Due to Candida albicans 
Antimicrobial Agents and Chemotherapy  1999;43(12):2831-2840.
We compared the efficacies of fluconazole (Flu), amphotericin B (AmB), and 5-fluorocytosine (5FC) monotherapies with the combination of Flu plus 5FC and Flu plus AmB in a rabbit model of Candida albicans endocarditis, endophthalmitis, and pyelonephritis. The dose of Flu used was that which resulted in an area under the concentration-time curve in rabbits equivalent to that seen in humans who receive Flu at 1,600 mg/day, the highest dose not associated with central nervous system toxicity in humans. Quantitative cultures of heart valve vegetations, the choroid-retina, vitreous humor, and kidney were conducted after 1, 5, 14, and 21 days of therapy. All untreated controls died within 6 days of infection; animals treated with 5FC monotherapy all died within 18 days. In contrast, 93% of animals in the other treatment groups appeared well and survived until they were sacrificed. At day 5, the relative decreases in CFU per gram in the vitreous humor were greater in groups that received Flu alone and in combination with 5FC or AmB than in groups receiving AmB or 5FC monotherapies (P < 0.005) but were similar thereafter. In the choroid-retina, 5FC was the least-active drug. However, there were no differences in choroidal fungal densities between the other treatment groups. On days 5 and 14 of therapy, fungal densities in kidneys of AmB recipients were lower than those resulting from the other therapies (P < 0.001 and P ≤ 0.038, respectively) and AmB-plus-Flu therapy was antagonistic; however, all therapies for fungal pyelonephritis were similar by treatment day 21. While fungal counts in cardiac valves of Flu recipients were similar to those of controls on day 5 of therapy and did not change from days 1 to 21, AmB therapy significantly decreased valvular CFUs versus Flu at days 5, 14, and 21 (P < 0.005 at each time point). 5FC plus Flu demonstrated enhanced killing in cardiac vegetations compared with Flu or 5FC as monotherapies (P < 0.03). Similarly, the combination of AmB and Flu was more active than Flu in reducing the fungal density in cardiac vegetations (P < 0.03). However, as in the kidney, AmB plus Flu demonstrated antagonism versus AmB monotherapy in the treatment of C. albicans endocarditis (P < 0.05, P = 0.036, and P < 0.008 on days 5, 14, and 21, respectively).
PMCID: PMC89573  PMID: 10582868
24.  Pharmacokinetic Studies of Fluconazole in Rabbits Characterizing Doses Which Achieve Peak Levels in Serum and Area under the Concentration-Time Curve Values Which Mimic Those of High-Dose Fluconazole in Humans 
We conducted steady-state pharmacokinetic studies with high-dose fluconazole with rabbits and human volunteers. We then derived mathematical equations that predict the doses of fluconazole that should be given to rabbits to produce 24-h area under the concentration-time curve values and maximum concentrations in serum that are similar to those measured for humans given 800 to 2,000 mg of fluconazole per day. These equations provide a rational basis for designing future efficacy studies with rabbits and in evaluating the strength with which results of previously conducted studies using rabbit infection models can be extrapolated to the clinic.
PMCID: PMC105634  PMID: 9624506
25.  Pharmacokinetics of Sparfloxacin in the Serum and Vitreous Humor of Rabbits: Physicochemical Properties That Regulate Penetration of Quinolone Antimicrobials 
We have used a recently described animal model to characterize the ocular pharmacokinetics of sparfloxacin in vitreous humor of uninfected albino rabbits following systemic administration and direct intraocular injection. The relationships of lipophilicity, protein binding, and molecular weight to the penetration and elimination of sparfloxacin were compared to those of ciprofloxacin, fleroxacin, and ofloxacin. To determine whether elimination was active, elimination rates following direct injection with and without probenecid or heat-killed bacteria were compared. Sparfloxacin concentrations were measured in the serum and vitreous humor by a biological assay. Protein binding and lipophilicity were determined, respectively, by ultrafiltration and oil-water partitioning. Pharmacokinetic parameters were characterized with RSTRIP, an iterative, nonlinear, weighted, least-squares-regression program. The relationship between each independent variable and mean quinolone concentration or elimination rate in the vitreous humor was determined by multiple linear regression. The mean concentration of sparfloxacin in the vitreous humor was 59.4% ± 12.2% of that in serum. Penetration of sparfloxacin, ciprofloxacin, fleroxacin, and ofloxacin into, and elimination from, the vitreous humor correlated with lipophilicity (r2 > 0.999). The linear-regression equation describing this relationship was not improved by including the inverse of the square root of the molecular weight and/or the degree of protein binding. Elimination rates for each quinolone were decreased by the intraocular administration of probenecid. Heat-killed Staphylococcus epidermidis decreased the rate of elimination of fleroxacin. Penetration of sparfloxacin into the noninflamed vitreous humor was greater than that of any quinolone previously examined. There was an excellent correlation between lipophilicity and vitreous entry or elimination for sparfloxacin as well as ciprofloxacin, fleroxacin, and ofloxacin. There are two modes of quinolone translocation into and out of the vitreous humor: diffusion into the eye and both diffusion and carrier-mediated elimination out of the vitreous humor.
PMCID: PMC105615  PMID: 9624487

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