803. Overcoming β-lactam Resistance in Mycobacterium abscessus
Session: Poster Abstract Session: Tuberculosis and Other Mycobacterial Infections
Thursday, October 4, 2018
Room: S Poster Hall
  • IDWeek 2018.ESR.803.pdf (3.6 MB)
  • Background: Mycobacterium abscessus (Mab) is an environmentally-acquired nontuberculous mycobacterium (NTM) that causes severe pulmonary infections in patients with chronic lung disease, such as cystic fibrosis (CF). The incidence of drug-resistant Mab infections in CF patients in the US is steadily rising, making it increasingly difficult to manage these often chronic and incurable infections. Mab requires two enzyme classes, L,D- and D,D-transpeptidases, to synthesize peptidoglycan (PG); an integral component of the bacterial cell wall. Each enzyme class is uniquely susceptible to different classes of β-lactam antibiotics. We hypothesize that a combination of two β-lactams, each specific for an enzyme class, will optimally inhibit PG synthesis and swiftly kill Mab, with potential to overcome drug-resistance.

    Methods: Paired antibiotic combinations were tested in vitro for synergy against the Mab reference strain ATCC 19977 at 106 CFU/mL, per CLSI guidelines. Combinations included two β-lactams, a β-lactam and a β-lactamase inhibitor, or a β-lactam and a rifamycin. The minimum inhibitory concentration (MIC) of each drug was initially confirmed via broth microdilution assay. A validated checkerboard assay was used to determine the fractional inhibitory concentration index (FICI) for each combination to identify pairs that exhibit synergistic activity against Mab.

    Results: Of the initial 227 combinations screened, 18 pairs exhibited a high level of synergy (FICI ≤0.5). Half of these were combinations of two β-lactams. The average reduction in MIC for each drug in combination was at least fourfold, with 8/18 combinations exhibiting reductions greater than eightfold. Although MIC breakpoints against Mab have not been established for all of the antibiotics tested in this study, the MICs of at least seven combinations were within the therapeutic range.

    Conclusion: Comprehensive inhibition of essential enzymes involved in PG synthesis requires more than one β-lactam antibiotic, and this phenomenon is hypothesized to be the basis for observed synergy between β-lactams. Some of the combinations reduced MICs to within therapeutically-achievable levels, potentially leading to vital new treatment options against drug-resistant Mab.

    Elizabeth Story-Roller, MD, Infectious Disease, Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine, Baltimore, MD and Gyanu Lamichhane, PhD, Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine, Baltimore, MD


    E. Story-Roller, None

    G. Lamichhane, None

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