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Synergy against extensively drug-resistant Acinetobacter baumannii in vitro by two old antibiotics: colistin and chloramphenicol

Wei, Wen-juan, Yang, Hai-fei
International journal of antimicrobial agents 2017 v.49 no.3 pp. 321-326
Acinetobacter baumannii, additive effect, chloramphenicol, colistin, drug resistance, drug therapy, mutants, synergism
Combination antimicrobial therapy is an important option in the fight against Gram-negative ‘superbugs’. This study systematically investigated the synergistic effect of colistin (CST) and chloramphenicol (CHL) in combination against extensively drug-resistant Acinetobacter baumannii (XDR-AB). The microtitre plate chequerboard assay was used to test synergy against 50 XDR-AB clinical strains. Then, three XDR-AB clinical isolates and the type strain A. baumannii ATCC 19606 were chosen for further synergy studies using time–kill assay, mutant prevention concentration (MPC) assay and real-time population analysis profile (PAP) assay. In the chequerboard assays, synergistic or additive effects [defined as a fractional inhibitory concentration index (FICI) of ≤0.5 and 0.5 < FICI < 1, respectively] were observed in all 50 isolates. In further synergy testing, the results of time–kill assays indicated that CST monotherapy produced rapid bacterial killing followed by rapid re-growth, with the emergence of CST resistance; CHL monotherapy was largely ineffective. The combination CST/CHL, however, showed a synergistic effect and enhanced bacterial killing in the four tested strains. It also significantly delayed re-growth and suppressed the emergence of CST resistance. In the MPC assay, a decrease in MPCs for CST was observed in the two CST-susceptible strains. PAP assay showed that both CST-resistant strains were heteroresistant.