Activity of ketoconazole against Mycobacterium tuberculosis in vitro and in the mouse model

Sean T. Byrne, Steven M. Denkin, Peihua Gu, Eric Nuermberger, Ying Zhang

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


There is an urgent need for the development of new drugs that are active against drug-resistant Mycobacterium tuberculosis strains and can shorten tuberculosis (TB) therapy. It has previously been reported that the azole class of antifungals has anti-TB activity in vitro. This study evaluated ketoconazole (KTC) for activity against M. tuberculosis. The MIC of KTC for different M. tuberculosis strains ranged from 8 to 16 u.g ml-1 under both acidic and neutral conditions, with the minimum bactericidal concentration being about twofold higher than the MIC. KTC had enhanced activity against old, non-growing bacilli in vitro when combined with pyrazinamide (PZA) and rifampicin (RIF). A single oral dose of KTC at 75 mg kg-1 led to an inhibitory serum concentration 2 h after administration. The in vivo activity of KTC was evaluated in established pulmonary TB in the murine model, compared alone and in combination with isoniazid (INH), PZA and RIF. KTC alone exhibited little effect after short-term treatment, with a borderline bacteriostatic effect on spleen colony counts but not on lung counts. KTC, when added in combination with INH, PZA and RIF, significantly improved the treatment outcome in the lungs (compared with treatment with INH, PZA and RIF). The lowest numbers of bacilli in lungs were found in mice treated with KTC, PZA and RIF. Further investigation is necessary to determine the role of KTC in the treatment of TB.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1047-1051
Number of pages5
JournalJournal of medical microbiology
Issue number8
StatePublished - Aug 2007

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Microbiology
  • Microbiology (medical)

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