In vitro evaluation of the potential for resistance development to ceragenin CSA-13
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OBJECTIVES: Though most bacteria remain susceptible to endogenous antimicrobial peptides, specific resistance mechanisms are known. As mimics of antimicrobial peptides, ceragenins were expected to retain antibacterial activity against Gram-positive and -negative bacteria, even after prolonged exposure. Serial passaging of bacteria to a lead ceragenin, CSA-13, was performed with representative pathogenic bacteria. Ciprofloxacin, vancomycin and colistin were used as comparators. The mechanisms of resistance in Gram-negative bacteria were elucidated. METHODS: Susceptible strains of Staphylococcus aureus, Pseudomonas aeruginosa and Acinetobacter baumannii were serially exposed to CSA-13 and comparators for 30 passages. MIC values were monitored. Alterations in the Gram-negative bacterial membrane composition were characterized via mass spectrometry and the susceptibility of antimicrobial-peptide-resistant mutants to CSA-13 was evaluated. RESULTS: S. aureus became highly resistant to ciprofloxacin after <20 passages. After 30 passages, the MIC values of vancomycin and CSA-13 for S. aureus increased 9- and 3-fold, respectively. The Gram-negative organisms became highly resistant to ciprofloxacin after <20 passages. MIC values of colistin for P. aeruginosa and A. baumannii increased to ≥100 mg/L after 20 passages. MIC values of CSA-13 increased to ∼20-30 mg/L and plateaued over the course of the experiment. Bacteria resistant to CSA-13 displayed lipid A modifications that are found in organisms resistant to antimicrobial peptides. CONCLUSIONS: CSA-13 retained potent antibacterial activity against S. aureus over the course of 30 serial passages. Resistance generated in Gram-negative bacteria correlates with modifications to the outer membranes of these organisms and was not stable outside of the presence of the antimicrobial.
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