Adjunctive #transferrin to reduce the emergence of #antibiotic #resistance in Gram-negative #bacteria (J Antimicrob Chemother., abstract)

[Source: Journal of Antimicrobial Chemotherapy, full page: (LINK). Abstract, edited.]

Adjunctive transferrin to reduce the emergence of antibiotic resistance in Gram-negative bacteria

Brian M Luna, Ksenia Ershova, Jun Yan, Amber Ulhaq, Travis B Nielsen, Sarah Hsieh, Paul Pantapalangkoor, Brian Vanscoy, Paul Ambrose, Sue Rudin, Kristine Hujer, Robert A Bonomo, Luis Actis, Eric P Skaar, Brad Spellberg

Journal of Antimicrobial Chemotherapy, dkz225,

Published: 06 June 2019




New strategies are needed to slow the emergence of antibiotic resistance among bacterial pathogens. In particular, society is experiencing a crisis of antibiotic-resistant infections caused by Gram-negative bacterial pathogens and novel therapeutics are desperately needed to combat such diseases. Acquisition of iron from the host is a nearly universal requirement for microbial pathogens—including Gram-negative bacteria—to cause infection. We have previously reported that apo-transferrin (lacking iron) can inhibit the growth of Staphylococcus aureus in culture and diminish emergence of resistance to rifampicin.


To define the potential of apo-transferrin to inhibit in vitro growth of Klebsiella pneumoniae and Acinetobacter baumannii, key Gram-negative pathogens, and to reduce emergence of resistance to antibiotics.


The efficacy of apo-transferrin alone or in combination with meropenem or ciprofloxacin against K. pneumoniae and A. baumannii clinical isolates was tested by MIC assay, time–kill assay and assays for the selection of resistant mutants.


We confirmed that apo-transferrin had detectable MICs for all strains tested of both pathogens. Apo-transferrin mediated an additive antimicrobial effect for both antibiotics against multiple strains in time–kill assays. Finally, adding apo-transferrin to ciprofloxacin or meropenem reduced the emergence of resistant mutants during 20 day serial passaging of both species.


These results suggest that apo-transferrin may have promise to suppress the emergence of antibiotic-resistant mutants when treating infections caused by Gram-negative bacteria.

Topic: antibiotics – iron – antibiotic resistance, bacterial – ciprofloxacin – gram-negative bacteria – transferrin – meropenem – malnutrition-inflammation-cachexia syndrome


Keywords: Antibiotics; Drugs Resistance; Meropenem; Ciprofloxacin; Transferrin.


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Giuseppe Michieli

I am an Italian blogger, active since 2005 with main focus on emerging infectious diseases such as avian influenza, SARS, antibiotics resistance, and many other global Health issues. Other fields of interest are: climate change, global warming, geological and biological sciences. My activity consists mainly in collection and analysis of news, public services updates, confronting sources and making decision about what are the 'signals' of an impending crisis (an outbreak, for example). When a signal is detected, I follow traces during the entire course of an event. I started in 2005 my blog ''A TIME'S MEMORY'', now with more than 40,000 posts and 3 millions of web interactions. Subsequently I added an Italian Language blog, then discontinued because of very low traffic and interest. I contributed for seven years to a public forum ( in the midst of the Ebola epidemic in West Africa in 2014, I left the site to continue alone my data tracking job.