Activities of tigecycline (GAR-936) against Legionella pneumophila in vitro and in guinea pigs with L. pneumophila pneumonia

Paul H. Edelstein, William J. Weiss, Martha A.C. Edelstein

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The activities of tigecycline (Wyeth Research) against extracellular and intracellular Legionella pneumophila and for the treatment of guinea pigs with L. pneumophila pneumonia were studied. The tigecycline MIC at which 50% of strains are inhibited for 101 different Legionella sp. strains was 4 μg/ml versus 0.125 and 0.25 μg/ml for azithromycin and erythromycin, respectively. Tigecycline was about as active as erythromycin (tested at 1 μg/ml) against the F889 strain of L. pneumophila grown in guinea pig alveolar macrophages and more active than erythromycin against the F2111 strain. Azithromycin (0.25 μg/ml) was more active than (F889) or as active as (F2111) tigecycline (1 μg/ml) in the macrophage model. When tigecycline was given (7.5 mg/kg of body weight subcutaneously once) to guinea pigs with L. pneumophila pneumonia, the mean peak serum and lung levels were 2.3 and 1.8 μg/ml (1.2 and 1.5 μg/g) at 1 and 2 h postinjection, respectively. The serum and lung areas under the concentration time curve from 0 to 24 h were 13.7 and 15.8 μg · h/ml, respectively. Thirteen of 16 guinea pigs with L. pneumophila pneumonia treated with tigecycline (7.5 mg/kg subcutaneously once daily for 5 days) survived for 7 days post-antimicrobial therapy, as did 11 of 12 guinea pigs treated with azithromycin (15 mg/kg intraperitoneally once daily for 2 days). None of 12 guinea pigs treated with saline survived. Tigecycline-treated guinea pigs had average end of therapy lung counts of 1 × 106 CFU/g (range, 2.5 × 104 to 3.2 × 106 CFU/g) versus <1 × 102 CFU/g for azithromycin (range, undetectable to 100 CFU/g). A second guinea pig study examined the ability of tigecycline to clear L. pneumophila from the lung after 5 to 9 days of therapy; bacterial concentrations 1 day posttherapy ranged from log10 4.2 to log10 5.5 CFU/g for four different dosing regimens. Tigecycline is about as effective as erythromycin against intracellular L. pneumophila, but tigecycline inactivation by the test media confounded the interpretation of susceptibility data. Tigecycline was effective at preventing death from pneumonia in an animal model of Legionnaires' disease, warranting human clinical trials of the drug for the disease.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)533-540
Number of pages8
JournalAntimicrobial agents and chemotherapy
Issue number2
StatePublished - 1 Feb 2003


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