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European Journal of Microbiology and Immunology
Authors: Isabel Stephany-Brassesco, Stefan Bereswill, Markus M. Heimesaat, and Matthias F. Melzig

Antibiotic resistance of Streptococcus pneumoniae has risen to worrying levels in the past few decades worldwide, and subsequently, effective treatment of respiratory tract infections has become even more challenging. While the need to develop new strategies to combat bacterial infections is urgent, novel antibiotic compounds are no longer a priority of the pharmaceutical industry. However, resistance-modifying agents can alleviate the spread of antibiotic resistance and render existing antibiotics effective again. In the present study, we aimed to determine the combinatory antimicrobial effects of the commercial herbal product Cefabronchin® and antibiotic compounds, such as amoxicillin and clarithromycin, on 6 clinical isolates of S. pneumoniae. Therefore, the minimal inhibitory concentration (MIC) of each agent before and after adding Cefabronchin® at different concentrations was determined by applying the checkerboard method. Sub-inhibitory concentrations of the added Cefabronchin® were found to reduce the MIC down to between 3.4% and 29.2% of the amoxicillin MIC and down to between 10.4% and 45.8% of the clarithromycin MIC in all 6 strains. In conclusion, this study provides evidence for the improved antimicrobial effects of commonly used antibiotics in combination with Cefabronchin® in order to combat infections with antibiotic-resistant S. pneumoniae strains.

Open access

Secondary abiotic mice generated by broad-spectrum antibiotic treatment provide a valuable tool for association studies with microbiota derived from different vertebrate hosts. We here generated human microbiota-associated (hma) mice by human fecal microbiota transplantation of secondary abiotic mice and performed a comprehensive survey of the intestinal microbiota dynamics in offspring of hma mice over 18 weeks following weaning as compared to their mothers applying both cultural and molecular methods. Mice were maintained under standard hygienic conditions with open cages, handled under aseptic conditions, and fed autoclaved chow and water. Within 1 week post weaning, fecal loads of commensal enterobacteria and enterococci had decreased, whereas obligate anaerobic bacteria such as Bacteroides/Prevotella species and clostridia were stably colonizing the intestines of hma offspring at high loads. Lactobacilli numbers were successively increasing until 18 weeks post weaning in both hma offspring and mothers, whereas by then, bifidobacteria were virtually undetectable in the former only. Interestingly, fecal lactobacilli and bifidobacteria were higher in mothers as compared to their offspring at 5 and 18 weeks post weaning. We conclude that the intestinal microbiota composition changes in offspring of hma mice, but also their mothers over time particularly affecting aerobic and microaerobic species.

Open access

Abstract

As antimicrobial resistance poses a globally rising health problem, the identification of alternative antimicrobial agents is urgently required. The short chain fatty acid propionate which is physiologically produced by the gut microbiota constitutes a promising molecule given that it has been widely used as a cosmetics and food preservative due to its antimicrobial effects. This literature survey aims to determine the most recent state of knowledge about the antimicrobial and immune-modulatory properties of propionate. Both in vitro and in vivo studies published between 2011 and 2020 confirmed the ability of propionate to inhibit the growth of several cellular pathogens, including Gram-positive and Gram-negative multi-drug resistant bacteria and fungi. In addition, heterogenous immune-modulatory and in particular, anti-inflammatory effects of propionate could be assessed involving a diverse signaling network that needs further comprehension. In conclusion, our literature survey provides evidence that propionate displays a plethora of health-beneficial including antimicrobial and immune-modulatory effects. Future research is required to further unravel the underlying molecular mechanisms and to set the basis for in vivo infection and clinical studies to broaden the path of propionate as a promising adjunct antibiotics-independent option in the combat of infections caused by multi-drug resistant bacteria.

Open access

Abstract

Infections with multi-drug resistant (MDR) bacteria including carbapenem-resistant Klebsiella pneumoniae are emerging worldwide but are difficult to treat with the currently available antibiotic compounds and therefore constitute serious threats to human health. This prompted us to perform a literature survey applying the MEDLINE database and Cochrane Register of Controlled Trials including clinical trials comparing different treatment regimens for infections caused by carbapenem-resistant K. pneumoniae. Our survey revealed that a combined application of antibiotic compounds such as meropenem plus vaborbactam, meropenem plus colistin and carbapenem plus carbapenem, resulted in significantly increased clinical cure and decreased mortality rates as compared to respective control treatment. However, further research on novel antibiotic compounds, but also on antibiotic-independent molecules providing synergistic or at least resistance-modifying properties needs to be undertaken in vitro as well as in large clinical trials to provide future options in the combat of emerging life-threatening infections caused by MDR bacteria.

Open access

Abstract

The use of antibiotics has provoked an emergence of various multidrug-resistant (MDR) bacteria. Infectious diseases that cannot be treated sufficiently with conventional antibiotic intervention strategies anymore constitue serious threats to human health. Therefore, current research focus has shifted to alternative, antibiotic-independent therapeutic approaches. In this context, vitamin E constitutes a promising candidate molecule due to its multi-faceted modes of action. Therefore, we used the PubMed database to perform a comprehensive literature survey reviewing studies addressing the antimicrobial properties of vitamin E against bacterial pathogens including MDR bacteria. The included studies published between 2010 and 2020 revealed that given its potent synergistic antimicrobial effects in combination with distinct antibiotic compounds, vitamin E constitutes a promising adjunct antibiotic treatment option directed against infectious diseases caused by MDR bacteria such as Pseudomonas aeruginosa, Burkholderia cenocepacia and methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA). In conclusion, the therapeutic value of vitamin E for the treatment of bacterial infections should therefore be investigated in future clinical studies.

Open access

Arcobacter butzleri causes sporadic cases of gastroenteritis, but the underlying immunopathological mechanisms of infection are unknown. We have recently demonstrated that A. butzleri-infected gnotobiotic IL-10−/− mice were clinically unaffected but exhibited intestinal and systemic inflammatory immune responses. For the first time, we here investigated the role of Toll-like receptor (TLR)-4, the main receptor for lipopolysaccharide and lipooligosaccharide of Gram-negative bacteria, in murine arcobacteriosis. Gnotobiotic TLR-4/IL-10-double deficient (TLR-4−/− IL-10−/−) and IL-10−/− control mice generated by broad-spectrum antibiotics were perorally infected with A. butzleri. Until day 16 postinfection, mice of either genotype were stably colonized with the pathogen, but fecal bacterial loads were approximately 0.5–2.0 log lower in TLR-4−/− IL-10−/− as compared to IL-10−/− mice. A. butzleri-infected TLR-4−/− IL-10−/− mice displayed less pronounced colonic apoptosis accompanied by lower numbers of macrophages and monocytes, T lymphocytes, regulatory T-cells, and B lymphocytes within the colonic mucosa and lamina propria as compared to IL-10−/− mice. Furthermore, colonic concentrations of nitric oxide, TNF, IL-6, MCP-1, and, remarkably, IFN and IL-12p70 serum levels were lower in A. butzleri-infected TLR-4−/− IL-10−/− versus IL-10−/− mice. In conclusion, TLR-4 is involved in mediating murine A. butzleri infection. Further studies are needed to investigate the molecular mechanisms underlying Arcobacter—host interactions in more detail.

Open access

Abstract

The excessive prescription of antibiotics has led to an increasing number of antimicrobial resistances, posing a major public health concern. Therefore, the pharmacological research has shifted its focus to the identification of natural compounds that exhibit anti-pathogenic properties without triggering antibiotic resistance. Butyrate has received increasing attention as a promising candidate for the treatment of bacterial infections in the gastrointestinal tract, particularly when antibiotic treatment is contraindicated. This literature survey summarizes recently investigated antibacterial and immune-modulatory effects of butyrate. This survey revealed that butyrate exerts direct antimicrobial effects against distinct strains of Acinetobacter baumannii, Escherichia coli, Bacillus, and Staphylococcus species. In addition, in vitro and in vivo studies confirmed indirect antimicrobial effects of butyrate, which were exhibited via induction of host defensin production as well as by activation of innate and adaptive immune responses. Finally, the synergistic action of butyrate in combination with other antimicrobial compounds results in a striking clearance of bacterial pathogens. In conclusion, butyrate and its derivatives might be considered as promising antibacterial and immune-modulatory agents in order to tackle bacterial infections without antibiotics.

Open access

Within 1 week following high-dose Toxoplasma gondii infection, mice develop lethal necrotizing ileitis. However, data from a subacute T. gondii-induced ileitis model are scarce. Therefore, mice harboring a human gut microbiota were perorally infected with one cyst of T. gondii. Within 9 days post-infection, the intestinal microbiota composition shifted towards higher loads of commensal enterobacteria and enterococci. Following T. gondii infection, mice were clinically only mildly affected, whereas ≈60% of mice displayed fecal blood and mild-to-moderate ileal histopathological changes. Intestinal inflammation was further characterized by increased apoptotic intestinal epithelial cells, which were accompanied by elevated proliferating gut epithelial cell numbers. As compared to naive controls, infected mice displayed elevated numbers of intestinal T lymphocytes and regulatory T-cells and increased pro-inflammatory mediator secretion. Remarkably, T. gondii-induced apoptotic and pro-inflammatory immune responses were not restricted to the gut, but could also be observed in extra-intestinal compartments including kidney, liver, and lung. Strikingly, low-dose T. gondii infection resulted in increased serum levels of pro- and anti-inflammatory cytokines. In conclusion, the here presented subacute ileitis model following peroral low-dose T. gondii infection of humanized mice allows for detailed investigations of the molecular mechanism underlying the “ménage à trois” of pathogens, human gut microbiota, and immunity.

Open access

Abstract

Antibiotic resistance is endangering public health globally and gives reason for constant fear of virtually intractable bacterial infections. Given a limitation of novel antibiotic classes brought to market in perspective, it is indispensable to explore novel, antibiotics-independent ways to fight bacterial infections. In consequence, the antibacterial properties of natural compounds have gained increasing attention in pharmacological sciences. We here performed a literature survey regarding the antibacterial effects of capsaicin and its derivatives constituting natural compounds of chili peppers. The studies included revealed that the compounds under investigation exerted i.) both direct and indirect antibacterial properties in vitro depending on the applied concentrations and the bacterial strains under investigation; ii.) synergistic antibacterial effects in combination with defined antibiotics; iii.) resistance-modification via inhibition of bacterial efflux pumps; iv.) attenuation of bacterial virulence factor expression; and v.) dampening of pathogen-induced immunopathological responses. In conclusion, capsaicin and its derivatives comprise promising antimicrobial molecules which could complement or replace antibiotic treatment strategies to fight bacterial infections. However, a solid basis for subsequent clinical trials requires future investigations to explore the underlying molecular mechanisms and in particular pharmaceutical evaluations in animal infection models.

Open access

Abstract

Metal ions are integral parts of pro- as well as eukaryotic cell homeostasis. Escherichia coli proved a valuable in vitro model organism to elucidate essential mechanisms involved in uptake, storage, and export of metal ions. Given that E. coli Nissle 1917 is able to overcome murine colonization resistance, we generated several E. coli Nissle 1917 mutants with defects in zinc, iron, copper, nickel, manganese homeostasis and performed a comprehensive survey of the impact of metal ion transport and homeostasis for E. coli colonization capacities within the murine intestinal tract. Seven days following peroral infection of conventional mice with E. coli Nissle 1917 strains exhibiting defined defects in zinc or iron uptake, the respective mutant and parental strains could be cultured at comparable, but low levels from the colonic lumen. We next reassociated gnotobiotic mice in which the microbiota responsible for colonization resistance was abrogated by broad-spectrum antibiotics with six different E. coli K12 (W3110) mutants. Seven days following peroral challenge, each mutant and parental strain stably colonized duodenum, ileum, and colon at comparable levels. Taken together, defects in zinc, iron, copper, nickel, and manganese homeostasis do not compromise colonization capacities of E. coli in the murine intestinal tract.

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