Esters of pyrazinoic acid are active against pyrazinamide-resistant strains of Mycobacterium tuberculosis and other naturally resistant mycobacteria in vitro and ex vivo within macrophages.

David Pires, Emília Valente, Marta Simoes, Nuno Carmo, Bernard Testa, Luís Constantino, Elsa Anes

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

12 Scopus citations

Abstract

Pyrazinamide (PZA) is active against major Mycobacterium tuberculosis species (M. tuberculosis, M. africanum, and M. microti), but not against M. bovis and M. avium. The latter two are mycobacteria species involved in human and cattle tuberculosis and in HIV co-infections, respectively. PZA is a first-line agent for the treatment of human tuberculosis and requires activation by a mycobacterial pyrazinamidase to form the active metabolite pyrazinoic acid (POA). As a result of this mechanism, resistance to PZA as often found in tuberculosis patients is caused by point mutations in pyrazinamidase. In previous work, we have shown that POA esters and amides synthesized in our laboratory were stable in plasma. Although the amides did not present significant activity, the esters were active against sensitive mycobacteria at concentrations 5-to-10 fold lower than those of PZA. Here, we report that these POA derivatives possess antibacterial efficacy in vitro and ex vivo against several species and strains of Mycobacterium with natural or acquired resistance to PZA, including M. bovis and M. avium. Our results indicate that the resistance was probably overcome by cleavage of the prodrugs into POA and a long-chain alcohol. Although it is not possible to rule out that the esters may have intrinsic activity per se, we bring evidence here that long-chain fatty alcohols possess a significant anti-mycobacterial effect against PZA-resistant species and strains and are not mere inactive promoieties. These findings may lead to candidate dual-drugs having enhanced activity against both PZA-susceptible and PZA-resistant isolates and being suitable for clinical development.
Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)7693-7699
Number of pages7
JournalAntimicrobial Agents and Chemotherapy
Volume59
Issue number12
DOIs
StatePublished - Oct 5 2015

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