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Journal of Antimicrobial Chemotherapy (2006) 57, 573576

doi:10.1093/jac/dki477
Advance Access publication 23 January 2006

In vitro antibacterial activities of tigecycline in combination


with other antimicrobial agents determined by chequerboard and
time-kill kinetic analysis

Peter J. Petersen, Ponpen Labthavikul, C. Hal Jones* and Patricia A. Bradford

Infectious Disease Discovery Research, Wyeth Research, Pearl River, NY 10965, USA

Received 7 October 2005; returned 16 November 2005; revised 30 November 2005; accepted 12 December 2005

Objectives: This study was undertaken to determine the interaction of tigecycline with 13 select
antimicrobial agents against a wide variety of Gram-negative and Gram-positive bacterial isolates.

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Methods: Antibiotic interactions were assayed using the chequerboard MIC format and selected syner-
gistic combinations were confirmed using time-kill kinetic analysis.
Results: Microdilution chequerboard analysis of tigecycline in combination with amikacin, ampicillin/
sulbactam, azithromycin, ciprofloxacin, colistin, imipenem, levofloxacin, piperacillin, piperacillin/
tazobactam, polymyxin B, rifampicin, minocycline and vancomycin resulted in an interpretation of either
no interaction or synergy. Time-kill kinetic analysis resulted in an interpretation of no interaction for all but
one of the drug combinations that resulted in an interpretation of synergy by the chequerboard analysis.
Antagonism was not observed for any combination when assayed by either method.
Conclusions: The lack of antagonism seen with tigecycline combinations in both chequerboard and time-
kill kinetic studies is an encouraging outcome, suggesting that tigecycline may prove to be effective in
combination therapy as well as in monotherapy.

Keywords: antibiotics, synergy, antagonism, susceptibility

Introduction by both preclinical and clinical studies, it is important to


characterize tigecycline in combination with other antibiotics
Tigecycline, the 9-glycylamido derivative of minocycline, is the in order to identify synergistic and/or antagonistic combinations
first member of the glycylcycline class of antibiotics to enter providing guidance for empirical use as well as for treatment of
the clinic. Tigecycline acts by preventing translation through a poly-microbial infections where combination therapy is warranted.3
reversible binding interaction that blocks the association of Due to the emergence of multidrug-resistant pathogens,
charged tRNA with the ribosome. Tigecycline has a distinct treatment with combination therapy, using two or more anti-
advantage over tetracycline and minocycline in that it is not subject bacterials, has become commonplace.3 Two of the most widely
to either the efflux or ribosomal protection mechanisms of used in vitro methodologies to assess drugdrug interactions are
tetracycline resistance.1,2 Preclinical studies have demonstrated the chequerboard MIC technique, yielding the fractional inhi-
the potent in vitro activity of tigecycline against a broad spectrum bitory concentration index (FICI), and time-kill kinetics.3,4 The
of Gram-positive, Gram-negative, anaerobic and atypical patho- chequerboard MIC method is prone to error5 and, by necessity,
gens, including those organisms expressing tetracycline resistance results from the chequerboard MIC are often confirmed with the
determinants.1,2 Moreover, tigecycline is active against methicillin- more dynamic interaction provided by the time-kill kinetic study
resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA), vancomycin-resistant format.68
Enterococcus spp. (VRE), penicillin-resistant Streptococcus This study was undertaken to determine the interaction of
pneumoniae (PRSP) and extended spectrum b-lactamase (ESBL) tigecycline with other antimicrobial agents against a variety of
producing Klebsiella pneumoniae and Escherichia coli.1 Despite bacterial isolates collected during clinical trials in the United
the potent broad spectrum of activity of tigecycline, supported States and Canada between 1990 and 2000.
.............................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................

*Corresponding author. Tel: +1-845-602-4612; Fax: +1-845-602-5671; E-mail: jonesh3@wyeth.com


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Petersen et al.

Materials and methods any combination with tigecycline, against any of the strains tested
(Table 1). A higher percentage of synergistic combinations with
Bacterial strains tigecycline were observed with amikacin (56%), ampicillin/sulbac-
Representative isolates of clinically relevant species, collected during tam (33%), piperacillin/tazobactam (50%) and rifampicin (33%).
clinical trials, from various medical centres in the United States Interestingly, 73% of the Proteus spp. showed synergy when tige-
and Canada between 1990 and 2000, were used in this study. The cycline was tested in combination with minocycline. No other clear
Gram-negative organisms used were chosen from the collection at trend could be established for synergy occurring with any other
random and do not represent any specific resistance mechanism. bacterial species and drug combinations.
The Gram-positive organisms were also chosen from the clinical With the Gram-positive isolates, rifampicin displayed a
collection; however, these were chosen to represent important synergistic effect with tigecycline for 66% of the isolates tested
resistance mechanisms (MRSA, PRSP and VRE). (Table 2). The majority of these strains showing synergy were
Enterococcus spp. including vancomycin-resistant (VRE) strains
Antimicrobial agents and penicillin-resistant Streptococcus pneumoniae (PRSP). Con-
This study was designed to evaluate tigecycline in combination with versely, the combination of vancomycin and tigecycline resulted
a wide variety of antimicrobial agents in support of the use of in a larger percentage of no interaction (71%) than synergistic
tigecycline in combination therapy for a compassionate use clinical effects (29%) against the Gram-positive isolates. Antagonism
protocol. The antimicrobial agents used in the study were: tigecycline, was not observed in this analysis.
piperacillin, tazobactam (Wyeth Research, Pearl River, NY, USA), In order to confirm a result of synergy (FICI 0.5) by the
ampicillin, minocycline, amikacin, ciprofloxacin, vancomycin, chequerboard MIC method, time-kill kinetic studies were per-
rifampicin, polymyxin B, colistin (Sigma-Aldrich Co., St Louis, formed with tigecycline combinations against selected bacterial
MO, USA), azithromycin, sulbactam, imipenem (USP, Rockville, species.9 The antibiotics were tested at concentrations based

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MD, USA) and levofloxacin (R. W. Johnson, Princeton, NJ, USA). on the MIC determined from microbroth chequerboard testing:
alone at 1 and 0.5 the MIC and in combination at 0.5 the
Chequerboard MIC MIC. The concentrations of the antibiotics used in the time-kill
Antibiotic interactions were determined using the chequerboard MIC assays were, at a minimum, one dilution higher than the synergistic
assay as previously described.5 MuellerHinton II broth (MHB) was combination shown by chequerboard MIC analysis.
used for the Enterobacteriaceae, staphylococci and enterococci and As determined by Eliopoulos and Moellering10 an interpretation
was supplemented with 5% lysed horse blood for streptococci. of synergy required a 2 log10 decrease in cfu/mL by the drug
Seven doubling dilutions of tigecycline and 11 doubling dilutions combination when compared with its most active constituent
of the test antimicrobial agent were tested. After drug dilution, micro- after 24 h and a 2 log10 decrease in the cfu/mL below the starting
broth dilution plates were inoculated with each organism to yield inoculum. Likewise, the drug combination was considered to be
the appropriate density (105 cfu/mL) in a 100 mL final volume and antagonistic if there was a 2 log10 increase in cfu/mL and no
incubated for 1822 h at 35 C in ambient air. interaction was the interpretation of a <2 log10 change in cfu/mL.
The FICI was calculated for each combination using the following The results of time-kill kinetic studies confirmed the chequerboard
formula: FICA + FICB = FICI, where FICA = MIC of drug A in data in that none of the tigecycline combinations resulted in antago-
combination/MIC of drug A alone, and FICB = MIC of drug B in nism. However, synergy results by FICI were confirmed by time-kill
combination/MIC of drug B alone. The FICI was interpreted as kinetics for only one of the seventeen combinations examined, which
follows: synergy = FICI 0.5; no interaction = FICI >0.54; was tigecycline, tested at 2 mg/L, combined with amikacin, tested at 8
antagonism = FICI > 4. mg/L against one strain of Acinetobacter baumannii (PT 9158).
Indicative of the majority of strains tested was the finding that
Time-kill assays tigecycline, tested at 0.5 mg/L, in combination with azithromycin,
Flasks containing MHB and drug were inoculated with test organism tested at 16 mg/L, was synergistic by FICI against a strain of K.
to a density of 106 cfu/mL in a final volume of 100 mL and incuba- pneumoniae (PT 9266); however, when assayed by time-kill kinet-
ted in a shaking water bath at 35 C in ambient air. Aliquots were ics this combination failed to meet the criteria for synergy. In
removed at time 0 and 3, 6 and 24 h post-inoculation and serially approximately half of the time-kill kinetics studies, the combina-
diluted in 0.85% sodium chloride solution for determination of tions demonstrated better killing at the 6 h time point than either drug
viable counts. Diluted samples, 0.05 mL, were plated in duplicate alone; however, there were no changes in interpretations regarding
on trypticase soy agar plates using a spiral plater (Don Whitley synergy when measured at the earlier time point (data not shown).
Scientific Ltd). Total bacterial cfu/mL (log10cfu/mL) were determined Antimicrobial combinations are used frequently in the clinic to
after 18 h of incubation at 35 C. provide broad-spectrum coverage until the causative pathogens
are isolated and identified.3 In the clinical setting, combination
Results and discussion therapy is most often given empirically without the use of
in vitro synergy data, as there is a lack of clinical data to correlate
The in vitro interactive effects of the antibiotics were determined the results of in vitro synergy studies with patient outcome.3
by the broth microdilution chequerboard method as previously Clearly, from a clinical viewpoint, antagonism is the least
described.5 The range of drug concentrations used in the chequer- desirable outcome possible with an antimicrobial combination.
board analysis was such that the dilution range encompassed Recent in vitro studies have demonstrated various antibiotic com-
the MIC of each drug used in the analysis. binations that resulted in no interaction and or synergy.6,7 Although
The combination of tigecycline and another antibiotic demon- there is no consensus in the field as to the best methodology
strated either synergy (24%) or no interaction (76%) against the for measuring synergy, the most commonly used assay is the
panel of Gram-negative bacteria; antagonism was not observed for chequerboard MIC test; however, this is most often used only as

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Tigecycline synergy

Table 1. Results of chequerboard testing of tigecycline and a second Table 1. (continued)


antibacterial agent against Gram-negative bacteria
No. of strains
No. of strains showing synergy/total
showing synergy/total Organism Second agent no. of strainsa
Organism Second agent no. of strainsa
Proteus vulgaris imipenem 0/4
Acinetobacter amikacin 4/9 levofloxacin 1/4
baumannii ampicillin/sulbactam 1/9 minocycline 3/4
azithromycin 0/9 piperacillin 3/4
ciprofloxacin 0/9 Providencia imipenem 1/3
colistin 1/9 rettgeri levofloxacin 0/3
piperacillin/tazobactam 2/9 minocycline 2/3
polymyxin B 2/9 piperacillin 1/3
rifampicin 1/9
Pseudomonas amikacin 0/3
Acinetobacter spp.b imipenem 3/11 aeruginosa ampicillin/sulbactam 2/3
levofloxacin 0/11 azithromycin 0/3
piperacillin 3/11 ciprofloxacin 0/3
Enterobacter amikacin 1/1 colistin 0/3
aerogenes ampicillin/sulbactam 0/1 imipenem 1/11

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azithromycin 0/1 levofloxacin 0/11
ciprofloxacin 0/1 piperacillin 3/11
colistin 1/1 piperacillin/tazobactam 2/3
imipenem 1/5 polymyxin B 0/3
levofloxacin 4/5 rifampicin 0/3
piperacillin 3/5 Stenotrophomonas imipenem 0/10
piperacillin/tazobactam 1/1 maltophilia levofloxacin 0/10
polymyxin B 0/1 piperacillin 0/10
rifampicin 1/1
a
Enterobacter amikacin 2/2 None of the strains tested showed antagonism.
b
Acinetobacter spp. includes: A. baumannii (13), A. anitratus (4), A. lwoffi (3).
cloacae ampicillin/sulbactam 2/2
azithromycin 1/2
ciprofloxacin 0/2
colistin 0/2
imipenem 1/5
levofloxacin 1/5 Table 2. Results of chequerboard testing of tigecycline and a second
piperacillin 3/5 antibacterial agent against Gram-positive bacteria
piperacillin/tazobactam 1/2
polymyxin B 0/2 No. of strains
rifampicin 2/2 showing
Escherichia coli imipenem 1/11 synergy/total
levofloxacin 0/11 Organism Second agent no. of strainsa
piperacillin 2/11
Staphylococcus vancomycin 1/10
Klebsiella amikacin 3/3
aureus (MRSA) rifampicin 2/10
pneumoniae ampicillin/sulbactam 2/3
azithromycin 0/3 Enterococcus vancomycin 3/5
ciprofloxacin 0/3 faecium (VRE) rifampicin 4/5
colistin 0/3 Enterococcus vancomycin 1/5
imipenem 3/10 faecium rifampicin 4/5
levofloxacin 3/10
piperacillin 1/10 Enterococcus vancomycin 0/3
piperacillin/tazobactam 3/3 faecalis (VRE) rifampicin 2/3
polymyxin B 0/3 Enterococcus vancomycin 0/8
rifampicin 2/3 faecalis rifampicin 5/8
Proteus mirabilis imipenem 2/4 Streptococcus vancomycin 7/10
levofloxacin 0/4 pneumoniae (PRSP) rifampicin 10/10
minocycline 3/4
a
piperacillin 2/4 None of the strains tested showed antagonism.

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