Effect of iron chelation on anti-pseudomonal activity of doxycycline

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Background: Increasing resistance of microorganisms to antimicrobial agents is a growing concern and there is a lack of novel agents. This has stimulated the exploration of novel strategies for treatment of infection. Objective: To investigate synergistic interactions between five tetracyclines and tobramycin with an iron chelator (CP762) against two reference strains and nine clinical isolates of Pseudomonas aeruginosa from cystic fibrosis patients. Method: Microdilution assays for minimal inhibitory concentration determination and checkerboard assays were used to assess synergy between antibiotics and CP762. Given the iron-binding capacity of tetracyclines, the binding of iron with doxycycline was investigated using Job's plot methodology. Synergy between the iron-bound form of doxycycline and CP762 was compared with that of unbound doxycycline and CP762. Enhancement of doxycycline anti-biofilm activity was also assessed. Results: There was synergy between CP762 and all tetracyclines, except minocycline, against the reference strains but that against clinical isolates was variable. Synergy was not demonstrated for tobramycin against any of the strains tested. This led to the hypothesis that iron chelation preserves the binding of tetracyclines to the bacterial ribosome. Susceptibility to iron-bound doxycycline was decreased by two- to four-fold and synergistic interactions with the iron chelator were consistently more intense with iron-bound doxycycline than with doxycycline alone. The doxycycline–iron chelator combination also significantly reduced cell viability in established biofilms. Conclusion: The data in this study provide evidence that iron chelation enhances the anti-pseudomonal activity of tetracyclines, specifically doxycycline.

Original languageEnglish
Article number106438
Issue number6
Early online date20 Sept 2021
Publication statusPublished - Sept 2021


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