For the successful treatment of pulmonary tuberculosis, drugs need to penetrate complex lung lesions and permeate the mycobacterial cell wall in order to reach their intracellular targets. However, most currently used anti-tuberculosis drugs were introduced into clinical use without considering the pharmacokinetic and pharmacodynamic properties that influence drug distribution, and this has contributed to the long duration and limited success of current therapies. In this Progress article, I describe new methods to quantify and image drug distribution in infected lung tissue and in mycobacterial cells, and I explore how this technology could be used to design optimized multidrug regimens.
New chemotherapeutic compounds against multidrug-resistant Mycobacterium tuberculosis (Mtb) are urgently needed to combat drug resistance in tuberculosis (TB). We have identified and characterized the indolcarboxamides as a new class of antitubercular bactericidal agent. Genetic and lipid profiling studies identified the likely molecular target of indolcarboxamides as MmpL3, a transporter of trehalose monomycolate that is essential for mycobacterial cell wall biosynthesis. Two lead candidates, NITD-304 and NITD-349, showed potent activity against both drug-sensitive and multidrug-resistant clinical isolates of Mtb. Promising pharmacokinetic profiles of both compounds after oral dosing in several species enabled further evaluation for efficacy and safety. NITD-304 and NITD-349 were efficacious in treating both acute and chronic Mtb infections in mouse efficacy models. Furthermore, dosing of NITD-304 and NITD-349 for 2 weeks in exploratory rat toxicology studies revealed a promising safety margin. Finally, neither compound inhibited the activity of major cytochrome P-450 enzymes or the hERG (human ether-a-go-go related gene) channel. These results suggest that NITD-304 and NITD-349 should undergo further development as a potential treatment for multidrug-resistant TB.
Bacteria that cause disease rely on their ability to counteract and overcome host defenses. Here, we present a genome-scale study of Mycobacterium tuberculosis (Mtb) that uncovers the bacterial determinants of surviving host immunity, sets of genes we term "counteractomes." Through this analysis, we found that CD4 T cells attempt to contain Mtb growth by starving it of tryptophan-a mechanism that successfully limits infections by Chlamydia and Leishmania, natural tryptophan auxotrophs. Mtb, however, can synthesize tryptophan under stress conditions, and thus, starvation fails as an Mtb-killing mechanism. We then identify a small-molecule inhibitor of Mtb tryptophan synthesis, which converts Mtb into a tryptophan auxotroph and restores the efficacy of a failed host defense. Together, our findings demonstrate that the Mtb immune counteractomes serve as probes of host immunity, uncovering immune-mediated stresses that can be leveraged for therapeutic discovery. PAPERFLICK:
Trials to test new drugs currently in development against tuberculosis in humans are impractical. All animal models to prioritize new regimens are imperfect but non-human primates (NHP) infected with Mtb develop active tuberculosis (TB) disease with a full spectrum of lesion types seen in humans. Serial 2-deoxy -2-[(18)F]-D-deoxyglucose (FDG) positron emission tomography (PET) with computed tomography (CT) imaging was performed on cynomolgus macaques during infection and chemotherapy with individual agents or the four-drug combination therapy most widely used globally. Size and metabolic activity of lung granulomas varied among animals, and even within a single animal, during development of disease. Individual granulomas within untreated animals had highly local and independent outcomes, some progressing in size and FDG uptake while others waned, illustrating the highly dynamic nature of active TB. At necropsy even untreated animals were found to have a proportion of sterile lesions consistent with the dynamics of this infection. A more marked reduction in overall metabolic activity in the lungs (decreased FDG uptake) was associated with effective treatment. Reduction in size of individual lesions correlated with lower bacterial burden at necropsy. Isoniazid treatment was associated with a transient increase in metabolic activity in individual lesions whereas a net reduction occurred in most lesions from rifampin-treated animals. Quadruple-drug therapy resulted in the highest decrease in FDG uptake. PET/CT may be an important early correlate of efficacy of novel combinations of new drugs that can be directly translated to human clinical trials.
Tuberculosis is a bacterial disease that predominantly affects the lungs and results in extensive tissue pathology. This pathology contributes to the complexity of drug development as it presents discrete microenvironments within which the bacterium resides, often under conditions where replication is limited and intrinsic drug susceptibility is low. This consolidated pathology also results in impaired vascularization that limits access of potential lead molecules to the site of infection. Translating these considerations into a target-product profile to guide lead optimization programs involves implementing unique in vitro and in vivo assays to maximize the likelihood of developing clinically meaningful candidates.
Pulmonary lesions from active tuberculosis patients are thought to contain persistent, nonreplicating bacilli that arise from hypoxic stress. Metronidazole, approved for anaerobic infections, has antituberculosis activity against anoxic bacilli in vitro and in some animal models and may target persistent, nonreplicating bacilli. In this double-blind, placebo-controlled trial, pulmonary multidrug-resistant tuberculosis subjects were randomly assigned to receive metronidazole (500 mg thrice daily) or placebo for 8 weeks in addition to an individualized background regimen. Outcomes were measured radiologically (change on high-resolution computed tomography [HRCT]), microbiologically (time to sputum smear and culture conversion), and clinically (status 6 months after stopping therapy). Enrollment was stopped early due to excessive peripheral neuropathies in the metronidazole arm. Among 35 randomized subjects, 31 (15 metronidazole, 16 placebo) were included in the modified intent-to-treat analysis. There were no significant differences by arm in improvement of HRCT lesions from baseline to 2 or 6 months. More subjects in the metronidazole arm converted their sputum smear (P = 0.04) and liquid culture (P = 0.04) to negative at 1 month, but these differences were lost by 2 months. Overall, 81% showed clinical success 6 months after stopping therapy, with no differences by arm. However, 8/16 (50%) of subjects in the metronidazole group and 2/17 (12%) of those in the placebo group developed peripheral neuropathy. Subjects who received metronidazole were 4.3-fold (95% confidence interval [CI], 1.1 to 17.1) more likely to develop peripheral neuropathies than subjects who received placebo. Metronidazole may have increased early sputum smear and culture conversion but was too neurotoxic to use over the longer term. Newer nitroimidazoles with both aerobic and anaerobic activity, now in clinical trials, may increase the sterilizing potency of future treatment regimens.
During active tuberculosis a spectrum of physiologically different Mycobacterium tuberculosis bacilli reside in human tissues. Subpopulations of the pathogen survive antibiotic treatment for a prolonged time in a dormant state of phenotypic drug resistance, a phenomenon independent of genetic mutations. Here, we used an established culture model of nutrient deprivation to shift down M. tuberculosis from growth to nonreplicating survival, which is characterized by a drastic loss of drug susceptibility. Liquid chromatography coupled with mass spectrometry techniques were employed to quantify drug penetration in replicating and nutrient-starved nonreplicating bacilli. We found that intracellular concentrations of fluoroquinolones, rifamycins, and linezolid were lower in nonreplicating M. tuberculosis. Studies with pump inhibitors suggest that the observed differences were independent of efflux processes. We conclude that decreased drug permeability contributes to phenotypic drug resistance of dormant M. tuberculosis.
Polyamines decrease the permeability of the outer membrane of Escherichia coli to fluoroquinolones and ?-lactams. In this study, we tested the effect of four polyamines (spermidine, spermine, cadaverine and putrescine) on fluoroquinolone uptake in Mycobacterium bovis BCG. Our results show that polyamines are also capable of reducing the permeability of the mycobacterial outer membrane to fluoroquinolones. Spermidine was most effective and demonstrated reversible dose- and pH-dependent inhibition of ciprofloxacin accumulation. The extent of this inhibition was demonstrated across the fluoroquinolone compound class to varying degrees. Furthermore, we have shown that the addition of spermidine increases the survival of M. bovis BCG after a 5-day exposure to ciprofloxacin by up to 25 times. The treatment of actively-replicating Mycobacterium tuberculosis with spermidine reduced ciprofloxacin accumulation by half while non-replicating nutrient-starved M. tuberculosis cultures lacked similar sensitivity to polyamines. Gene expression studies showed that several outer membrane proteins are significantly down-regulated during the shift to non-replication. Collectively, these characteristics of fluoroquinolone uptake in M. bovis BCG are consistent with facilitated transport by porin-like proteins and suggest that a reduction in intracellular uptake contributes to the phenotypic drug resistance demonstrated by M. tuberculosis in the non-replicating state.
Standard antituberculosis (anti-TB) therapy requires the use of multiple drugs for a minimum of 6 months, with variable outcomes that are influenced by a number of microbiological, pathological, and clinical factors. This is despite the availability of antibiotics that have good activity against Mycobacterium tuberculosis in vitro and favorable pharmacokinetic profiles in plasma. However, little is known about the distribution of widely used antituberculous agents in the pulmonary lesions where the pathogen resides. The rabbit model of TB infection was used to explore the hypothesis that standard drugs have various abilities to penetrate lung tissue and lesions and that adequate drug levels are not consistently reached at the site of infection. Using noncompartmental and population pharmacokinetic approaches, we modeled the rate and extent of distribution of isoniazid, rifampin, pyrazinamide, and moxifloxacin in rabbit lung and lesions. Moxifloxacin reproducibly showed favorable partitioning into lung and granulomas, while the exposure of isoniazid, rifampin, and pyrazinamide in lesions was markedly lower than in plasma. The extent of penetration in lung and lesions followed different trends for each drug. All four agents distributed rapidly from plasma to tissue with equilibration half-lives of less than 1 min to an hour. The models adequately described the plasma concentrations and reasonably captured actual lesion concentrations. Though further refinement is needed to accurately predict the behavior of these drugs in human subjects, our results enable the integration of lesion-specific pharmacokinetic-pharmacodynamic (PK-PD) indices in clinical trial simulations and in in vitro PK-PD studies with M. tuberculosis.
The (S)-2-nitro-6-(4-(trifluoromethoxy)benzyloxy)-6,7-dihydro-5H-imidazo[2,1-b][1,3]oxazine named PA-824 (1) has demonstrated antitubercular activity in vitro and in animal models and is currently in clinical trials. We synthesized derivatives at three positions of the 4-(trifluoromethoxy)benzylamino tail, and these were tested for whole-cell activity against both replicating and nonreplicating Mycobacterium tuberculosis (Mtb). In addition, we determined their kinetic parameters as substrates of the deazaflavin-dependent nitroreductase (Ddn) from Mtb that reductively activates these pro-drugs. These studies yielded multiple compounds with 40 nM aerobic whole cell activity and 1.6 ?M anaerobic whole cell activity: 10-fold improvements over both characteristics from the parent molecule. Some of these compounds exhibited enhanced solubility with acceptable stability to microsomal and in vivo metabolism. Analysis of the conformational preferences of these analogues using quantum chemistry suggests a preference for a pseudoequatorial orientation of the linker and lipophilic tail.
Our understanding of the correlation of Mycobacterium bovis Bacille Calmette-Guerin (BCG)-mediated immune responses and protection against Mycobacterium tuberculosis (Mtb) infection is still limited. We have recently characterized a Wistar rat model of experimental tuberculosis (TB). In the present study, we evaluated the efficacy of BCG vaccination in this model. Upon Mtb challenge, BCG vaccinated rats controlled growth of the bacilli earlier than unvaccinated rats. Histopathology analysis of infected lungs demonstrated a reduced number of granulomatous lesions and lower parenchymal inflammation in vaccinated animals. Vaccine-mediated protection correlated with the rapid accumulation of antigen specific CD4(+) and CD8(+) T cells in the infected lungs. Immunohistochemistry further revealed higher number of CD8(+) cells in the pulmonary granulomas of vaccinated animals. Evaluation of pulmonary immune responses in vaccinated and Mtb infected rats by real time PCR at day 15 post-challenge showed reduced expression of genes responsible for negative regulation of Th1 immune responses. Thus, early protection observed in BCG vaccinated rats correlated with a similarly timed shift of immunity towards the Th1 type response. Our data support the importance of (i) the Th1-Th2 balance in the control of mycobacterial infection and (ii) the value of the Wistar rats in understanding the biology of TB.
Starting from a hit series from a GNF compound library collection and based on a cell-based proliferation assay of Plasmodium falciparum, a novel imidazolopiperazine scaffold was optimized. SAR for this series of compounds is discussed, focusing on optimization of cellular potency against wild-type and drug resistant parasites and improvement of physiochemical and pharmacokinetic properties. The lead compounds in this series showed good potencies in vitro and decent oral exposure levels in vivo. In a Plasmodium berghei mouse infection model, one lead compound lowered the parasitemia level by 99.4% after administration of 100 mg/kg single oral dose and prolonged mice survival by an average of 17.0 days. The lead compounds were also well-tolerated in the preliminary in vitro toxicity studies and represents an interesting lead for drug development.
Mycobacterium tuberculosis is the causative agent of a pulmonary epidemic that is estimated to infect one-third of the worlds population and that has an increased incidence of multidrug resistance. The evaluation of new chemical entities against M. tuberculosis is hampered by the lack of biological tools to help predict efficacy, from early drug development to clinical trials. As the rat is the animal species of choice in the pharmaceutical industry, we have developed a rat model of acute and chronic phases of M. tuberculosis infection for drug efficacy testing. In this model, we have evaluated the impact of tuberculosis drugs on T cell response using the enzyme-linked immunospot assay methodology. Infected rats treated with isoniazid (INH) or rifampin (RIF) responded to therapy, the potency of which was comparable to that seen in the mouse. Peripheral blood mononuclear cells from infected rats produced gamma interferon (IFN-?) in response to RD-1 antigens, such as the 6-kDa early secretory antigen target (ESAT-6) and the 10-kDa culture filtrate protein (CFP-10). A decrease in IFN-? spot-forming cells (SFCs) was consistently observed in response to drug treatment. In both the acute- and chronic-phase models, the T cell response was more sensitive to ESAT-6 than to CFP-10. The SFC count in response to ESAT-6 appears to be an indicator of bacterial killing in the rat. Collectively, our data suggest that the ESAT-6 response could be used as a potential surrogate of drug efficacy in the rat and that such a readout could help shorten drug testing during preclinical development.
Mycolic acids are attractive diagnostic markers for tuberculosis (TB) infection because they are bacteria-derived, contain information about bacterial species, modulate host-pathogen interactions and are chemically inert. Here, we present a novel approach based on mass spectrometry. Quantification of specific precursor ? fragment transitions of approximately 2000 individual mycolic acids (MAs) resulted in high analytical sensitivity and specificity. We next used this tool in a retrospective case-control study of patients with pulmonary TB with varying disease burdens from South Korea, Vietnam, Uganda and South Africa. MAs were extracted from small volume sputum (200 µl) and analysed without the requirement for derivatization. Infected patients (70, 19 of whom were HIV+) could be separated from controls (40, 20 of whom were HIV+) with a sensitivity and specificity of 94 and 93%, respectively. Furthermore, we quantified MA species in lung tissue of TB-infected mice and demonstrated effective clearance of MA levels following curative rifampicin treatment. Thus, our results demonstrate for the first time the feasibility and clinical relevance of direct detection of mycobacterial lipids as biomarkers of TB infection.
Hypoxia is believed to influence the metabolic state of Mycobacterium tuberculosis and cause phenotypic drug resistance. Using pimonidazole adduct staining, we show that lung lesions of infected rats contain regions of low oxygen tension. Our results support the use of the rat model for evaluating anaerobic drug activity in vivo.
Despite the availability of many animal models for tuberculosis (TB) research, there still exists a need for better understanding of the quiescent stage of disease observed in many humans. Here, we explored the use of the Wistar rat model for the study of protective immunity and control of Mycobacterium tuberculosis (Mtb) infection.
Tuberculosis (TB) treatment is hampered by the long duration of antibiotic therapy required to achieve cure. This indolent response has been partly attributed to the ability of subpopulations of less metabolically active Mycobacterium tuberculosis (Mtb) to withstand killing by current anti-TB drugs. We have used immune modulation with a phosphodiesterase-4 (PDE4) inhibitor, CC-3052, that reduces tumor necrosis factor alpha (TNF-?) production by increasing intracellular cAMP in macrophages, to examine the crosstalk between host and pathogen in rabbits with pulmonary TB during treatment with isoniazid (INH). Based on DNA microarray, changes in host gene expression during CC-3052 treatment of Mtb infected rabbits support a link between PDE4 inhibition and specific down-regulation of the innate immune response. The overall pattern of host gene expression in the lungs of infected rabbits treated with CC-3052, compared to untreated rabbits, was similar to that described in vitro in resting Mtb infected macrophages, suggesting suboptimal macrophage activation. These alterations in host immunity were associated with corresponding down-regulation of a number of Mtb genes that have been associated with a metabolic shift towards dormancy. Moreover, treatment with CC-3052 and INH resulted in reduced expression of those genes associated with the bacterial response to INH. Importantly, CC-3052 treatment of infected rabbits was associated with reduced ability of Mtb to withstand INH killing, shown by improved bacillary clearance, from the lungs of co-treated animals compared to rabbits treated with INH alone. The results of our study suggest that changes in Mtb gene expression, in response to changes in the host immune response, can alter the responsiveness of the bacteria to antimicrobial agents. These findings provide a basis for exploring the potential use of adjunctive immune modulation with PDE4 inhibitors to enhance the efficacy of existing anti-TB treatment.
MALDI-MSI is a powerful technology for localizing drug and metabolite distributions in biological tissues. To enhance our understanding of tuberculosis (TB) drug efficacy and how efficiently certain drugs reach their site of action, MALDI-MSI was applied to image the distribution of the second-line TB drug moxifloxacin at a range of time points after dosing. The ability to perform multiple monitoring of selected ion transitions in the same experiment enabled extremely sensitive imaging of moxifloxacin within tuberculosis-infected rabbit lung biopsies in less than 15 min per tissue section. Homogeneous application of a reference standard during the matrix spraying process enabled the ion-suppressing effects of the inhomogeneous lung tissue to be normalized. The drug was observed to accumulate in granulomatous lesions at levels higher than that in the surrounding lung tissue from 1.5 h postdose until the final time point. MALDI-MSI moxifloxacin distribution data were validated by quantitative LC/MS/MS analysis of lung and granuloma extracts from adjacent biopsies taken from the same animals. Drug distribution within the granulomas was observed to be inhomogeneous, and very low levels were observed in the caseum in comparison to the cellular granuloma regions. In this experiment the MALDI-MRM-MSI method was shown to be a rapid and sensitive method for analyzing the distribution of anti-TB compounds and will be applied to distribution studies of additional drugs in the future.
Isoniazid (INH) is an important component of front-line anti-tuberculosis therapy with good serum pharmacokinetics but unknown ability to penetrate tuberculous lesions. However, endogenous background interferences hinder our ability to directly analyze INH in tissues. Chemical derivatization has been successfully used to measure isoniazid directly from tissue samples using matrix-assisted laser desorption/ionization (MALDI) imaging mass spectrometry (IMS). MALDI targets were pretreated with trans-cinnamaldehyde (CA) prior to mounting tissue slices. Isoniazid present in the tissues was efficiently derivatized and the INH-CA product measured by MS/MS. Precoating of MALDI targets allows the tissues to be directly thaw-mounted and derivatized, thus simplifying the preparation. A time-course series of tissues from tuberculosis infected/INH dosed animals were assayed and the MALDI MS/MS response correlates well with the amount of INH determined to be in the tissues by high-performance liquid chromatography (HPLC)-MS/MS.
Recent reports of increased tolerance to artemisinin derivatives--the most recently adopted class of antimalarials--have prompted a need for new treatments. The spirotetrahydro-beta-carbolines, or spiroindolones, are potent drugs that kill the blood stages of Plasmodium falciparum and Plasmodium vivax clinical isolates at low nanomolar concentration. Spiroindolones rapidly inhibit protein synthesis in P. falciparum, an effect that is ablated in parasites bearing nonsynonymous mutations in the gene encoding the P-type cation-transporter ATPase4 (PfATP4). The optimized spiroindolone NITD609 shows pharmacokinetic properties compatible with once-daily oral dosing and has single-dose efficacy in a rodent malaria model.
The antiplasmodial activity of a series of spirotetrahydro beta-carbolines is described. Racemic spiroazepineindole (1) was identified from a phenotypic screen on wild type Plasmodium falciparum with an in vitro IC(50) of 90 nM. Structure-activity relationships for the optimization of 1 to compound 20a (IC(50) = 0.2 nM) including the identification of the active 1R,3S enantiomer and elimination of metabolic liabilities is presented. Improvement of the pharmacokinetic profile of the series translated to exceptional oral efficacy in the P. berghei infected malaria mouse model where full cure was achieved in four of five mice with three daily doses of 30 mg/kg.
Dengue virus (DENV) is the most prevalent mosquito-borne viral pathogen that infects humans. Neither a vaccine nor an antiviral therapy is currently available for DENV. Here, we report an adenosine nucleoside prodrug that potently inhibits DENV replication both in cell culture and in a DENV mouse model. NITD449 (2-C-acetylene-7-deaza-7-carbamoyladenosine) was initially identified as a parental compound that inhibits all four serotypes of DENV with low cytotoxicity. However, in vivo pharmacokinetic studies indicated that NITD449 had a low level of exposure in plasma when dosed orally. To increase the oral bioavailability, we covalently linked isobutyric acids to the 3- and 5-hydroxyl groups of ribose via ester linkage to NITD449, leading to the prodrug NITD203 (3,5-O-diisobutyryl-2-C-acetylene-7-deaza-7-carbamoyl-adenosin). Pharmacokinetic analysis showed that upon oral dosing of the prodrug, NITD203 was readily converted to NITD449, resulting in improved exposure of the parental compound in plasma in both mouse and rat. In DENV-infected AG129 mice, oral dosing of the prodrug at 25 mg/kg of body weight reduced peak viremia by 30-fold. Antiviral spectrum analysis showed that NITD203 inhibited various flaviviruses (DENV, yellow fever virus, and West Nile virus) and hepatitis C virus but not Chikungunya virus (an alphavirus). Mode-of-action analysis, using a luciferase-reporting replicon, indicated that NITD203 inhibited DENV RNA synthesis. Although NITD203 exhibited potent in vitro and in vivo efficacies, the compound could not reach a satisfactory no-observable-adverse-effect level (NOAEL) in a 2-week in vivo toxicity study. Nevertheless, our results demonstrate that a prodrug approach using a nucleoside analog could potentially be developed for flavivirus antiviral therapy.
Candidate antibacterials are usually identified on the basis of their in vitro activity. However, the apparent inhibitory activity of new leads can be misleading because most culture media do not reproduce an environment relevant to infection in vivo. In this study, while screening for novel anti-tuberculars, we uncovered how carbon metabolism can affect antimicrobial activity. Novel pyrimidine-imidazoles (PIs) were identified in a whole-cell screen against Mycobacterium tuberculosis. Lead optimization generated in vitro potent derivatives with desirable pharmacokinetic properties, yet without in vivo efficacy. Mechanism of action studies linked the PI activity to glycerol metabolism, which is not relevant for M. tuberculosis during infection. PIs induced self-poisoning of M. tuberculosis by promoting the accumulation of glycerol phosphate and rapid ATP depletion. This study underlines the importance of understanding central bacterial metabolism in vivo and of developing predictive in vitro culture conditions as a prerequisite for the rational discovery of new antibiotics.
Drug resistance against dihydrofolate reductase (DHFR) inhibitors-such as pyrimethamine (PM)-has now spread to almost all regions where malaria is endemic, rendering antifolate-based malaria treatments highly ineffective. We have previously shown that the di-amino quinazoline QN254 [5-chloro-N6-(2,5-dimethoxy-benzyl)-quinazoline-2,4,6-triamine] is active against the highly PM-resistant Plasmodium falciparum V1S strain, suggesting that QN254 could be used to treat malaria in regions with a high prevalence of antifolate resistance. Here, we further demonstrate that QN254 is highly active against Plasmodium falciparum clinical isolates, displaying various levels of antifolate drug resistance, and we provide biochemical and structural evidence that QN254 binds and inhibits the function of both the wild-type and the quadruple-mutant (V1S) forms of the DHFR enzyme. In addition, we have assessed QN254 oral bioavailability, efficacy, and safety in vivo. The compound displays favorable pharmacokinetic properties after oral administration in rodents. The drug was remarkably efficacious against Plasmodium berghei and could fully cure infected mice with three daily oral doses of 30 mg/kg. In the course of these efficacy studies, we have uncovered some dose limiting toxicity at higher doses that was confirmed in rats. Thus, despite its relative in vitro selectivity toward the Plasmodium DHFR enzyme, QN254 does not show the adequate therapeutic index to justify its further development as a single agent.
Failure of first-line chemotherapy to cure tuberculosis (TB) patients occurs, in part, because of the development of resistance to isoniazid (INH) and rifampicin (RIF) the two most sterilizing agents in the four-drug regimen used to treat primary infections. Strains resistant to both INH and RIF are termed multidrug-resistant (MDR). Treatment options for MDR patients involve a complex array of twenty different drugs only two classes of which are considered to be highly effective (fluoroquinolones and aminoglycosides). Resistance to these two classes results in strains known as extensively drug-resistant (XDR) and these types of infections are becoming increasingly common. Many of the remaining agents have poorly defined pharmacology but nonetheless are widely used in the treatment of this disease. Several of these agents are known to have highly variable exposures in healthy volunteers and little is known in the patients in which they must be used. Therapeutic drug monitoring (TDM) is infrequently used in the management of MDR or XDR disease yet the clinical pharmacokinetic studies that have been done suggest this might have a large impact on disease outcome. We review what is known about the pharmacologic properties of each of the major classes of second- and third-line antituberculosis agents and suggest where judicious use of TDM would have the maximum possible impact. We summarize the state of knowledge of drug-drug interactions (DDI) in these classes of agents and those that are currently in clinical trials. Finally we consider what little is known about the ability of TB drugs to reach their ultimate site of action--the interior of a granuloma by penetrating the diseased lung area. Careful consideration of the pharmacology of these agents is essential if we are to avoid further fueling the growing epidemic of highly drug-resistant TB and critical in the development of new antituberculosis drugs.
Dengue virus (DENV), a mosquito-borne flavivirus, is a major public health threat. The virus poses risk to 2.5 billion people worldwide and causes 50 to 100 million human infections each year. Neither a vaccine nor an antiviral therapy is currently available for prevention and treatment of DENV infection. Here, we report a previously undescribed adenosine analog, NITD008, that potently inhibits DENV both in vitro and in vivo. In addition to the 4 serotypes of DENV, NITD008 inhibits other flaviviruses, including West Nile virus, yellow fever virus, and Powassan virus. The compound also suppresses hepatitis C virus, but it does not inhibit nonflaviviruses, such as Western equine encephalitis virus and vesicular stomatitis virus. A triphosphate form of NITD008 directly inhibits the RNA-dependent RNA polymerase activity of DENV, indicating that the compound functions as a chain terminator during viral RNA synthesis. NITD008 has good in vivo pharmacokinetic properties and is biologically available through oral administration. Treatment of DENV-infected mice with NITD008 suppressed peak viremia, reduced cytokine elevation, and completely prevented the infected mice from death. No observed adverse effect level (NOAEL) was achieved when rats were orally dosed with NITD008 at 50 mg/kg daily for 1 week. However, NOAEL could not be accomplished when rats and dogs were dosed daily for 2 weeks. Nevertheless, our results have proved the concept that a nucleoside inhibitor could be developed for potential treatment of flavivirus infections.
Immunological tests provide evidence of latent tuberculosis in one third of the global population, which corresponds to more than two billion individuals. Latent tuberculosis is defined by the absence of clinical symptoms but carries a risk of subsequent progression to clinical disease, particularly in the context of co-infection with HIV. In this Review we discuss the biology of latent tuberculosis as part of a broad range of responses that occur following infection with Mycobacterium tuberculosis, which result in the formation of physiologically distinct granulomatous lesions that provide microenvironments with differential ability to support or suppress the persistence of viable bacteria. We then show how this model can be used to develop a rational programme to discover effective drugs for the eradication of M. tuberculosis infection.
In drug development, there are typically a series of preclinical studies that must be completed with new compounds or regimens before use in humans. A sequence of in vitro assays followed by in vivo testing in validated animal models to assess the activity against Mycobacterium tuberculosis, pharmacology and toxicity is generally used for advancing compounds against tuberculosis in a preclinical stage. A plethora of different assay systems and conditions are used to study the effect of drug candidates on the growth of M. tuberculosis, making it difficult to compare data from one laboratory to another. The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation recognized the scientific gap to delineate the spectrum of variables in experimental protocols, identify which of these are biologically significant, and converge towards a rationally derived standard set of optimized assays for evaluating compounds. The goals of this document are to recommend protocols and hence accelerate the process of TB drug discovery and testing. Data gathered from preclinical in vitro and in vivo assays during personal visits to laboratories and an electronic survey of methodologies sent to investigators is reported. Comments, opinions, experiences as well as final recommendations from those currently engaged in such preclinical studies for TB drug testing are being presented. Certain in vitro assays and mouse efficacy models were re-evaluated in the laboratory as head-to-head experiments and a summary is provided on the results obtained. It is our hope that this information will be a valuable resource for investigators in the field to move forward in an efficient way and that key variables of assays are included to ensure accuracy of results which can then be used for designing human clinical trials. This document then concludes with remaining questions and critical gaps that are in need of further validation and experimentation.
Targeting Mycobacterium tuberculosis bacilli in low-oxygen microenvironments, such as caseous granulomas, has been hypothesized to have the potential to shorten therapy for active tuberculosis (TB) and prevent reactivation of latent infection. We previously reported that upon low-dose M. tuberculosis infection, equal proportions of cynomolgus macaques develop active disease or latent infection and that latently infected animals reactivated upon neutralization of TNF. Using this model we now show that chemoprophylaxis of latently infected cynomolgus macaques with 6 mo of isoniazid (INH) effectively prevented anti-TNF antibody-induced reactivation. Similarly, 2-mo treatment of latent animals with a combination of INH and rifampicin (RIF) was highly effective at preventing reactivation disease in this model. Metronidazole (MTZ), which has activity only against anaerobic, nonreplicating bacteria, was as effective as either of these treatments in preventing reactivation of latent infection. Because hypoxic lesions also occur during active TB, we further showed that addition of MTZ to INH/RIF effectively treated animals with active TB within 2 mo. Healing lesions were associated with distinct changes in cellular pathology, with a shift toward increasingly fibrotic and calcified lesions. Our data in the nonhuman primate model of active and latent TB supports targeting bacteria in hypoxic environments for preventing reactivation of latent infection and possibly shortening the duration of therapy in active TB.
With a host of new antitubercular chemotherapeutics in development, methods to assess the activity of these agents beyond mouse efficacy are needed to prioritize combinations for clinical trials. Lesions in Mycobacterium tuberculosis-infected rabbits are hypoxic, with histopathologic features that closely resemble those of human tuberculous lesions. Using [(18)F]2-fluoro-deoxy-d-glucose ([(18)F]FDG) positron emission tomography-computed tomography (PET-CT) imaging, we studied the dynamics of tuberculosis infection in rabbits, revealing an initial inflammatory response followed by a consolidative chronic disease. Five weeks after infection, as much as 23% of total lung volume was abnormal, but this was contained and to some extent reversed naturally by 9 weeks. During development of this chronic state, individual lesions in the same animal had very different fates, ranging from complete resolution to significant progression. Lesions that remained through the initial stage showed an increase in volume and tissue density over time by CT. Initiation of chemotherapy using either isoniazid (INH) or rifampin (RIF) during chronic infection reduced bacterial load with quantitative changes in [(18)F]FDG uptake, lesion density and total lesion volume measured by CT. The [(18)F]FDG PET uptake in lesions was significantly reduced with as little as 1 week of treatment, while the volume and density of lesions changed more slowly. The results from this study suggest that rabbits may be a useful surrogate species for evaluating novel chemotherapies and understanding changes in both PET and CT scans in human clinical trials.
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