Discovery of novel antimycobacterial drug therapy in biofilm of pathogenic nontuberculous mycobacterial keratitis.

Research paper by Thet Tun TT Aung, Wei Hong Jeff WHJ Chor, Joey Kuok Hoong JKH Yam, Michael M Givskov, Liang L Yang, Roger W RW Beuerman

Indexed on: 01 Jul '17Published on: 01 Jul '17Published in: The Ocular Surface


The potential of slow-growing mycobacteria to form biofilms in human tissues contributes to the problem of establishing an effective treatment strategy. The purpose of this study was to examine new antibiotic strategies to enhance current treatment options for these infections.Sensitivities of Mycobacterium fortuitum ATCC 49404 and Mycobacterium chelonae ATCC 35752 were evaluated for different antimicrobials singly and in combination using broth microdilution and FICI (Fractional Inhibitory Concentration Index) synergy screening. Anti-biofilm effects were evaluated in an 8-well chamber slide biofilm model. The efficacy of a new treatment strategy was validated using the novel neutropenic mouse keratitis model and monitored by slit-lamp microscopy, confocal microscopy, and colony forming unit measurements.We reported the very first evidence that these organisms develop corneal biofilms by the accumulation of extracellular DNA (eDNA) and the presence of microcolonies using a novel mycobacterial neutropenic mouse keratitis model. The combination of amikacin and gatifloxacin or besifloxacin was more effective than the current gold-standard drug, amikacin, and we developed a novel treatment strategy (amikacin + gatifloxacin + DNase), the destruction of biofilm matrix component, eDNA, which increased the efficacy of the new antibiotic combination for treating mycobacterial infection in in vitro (P = 0.002) and in vivo (P = 0.001) compared to its respective control.Biofilms have a role in mycobacterial keratitis leading to poor treatment outcomes in clinical practice and the use of combination therapy (amikacin + gatifloxacin + DNase) could be a useful new treatment option.