Kinetic driver of antibacterial drugs against plasmodium falciparum and implications for clinical dosing

Emily Caton, Elizabeth Nenortas, Rahul P. Bakshi, Theresa A. Shapiro

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Antibacterial drugs are an important component of malaria therapy. We studied the interactions of clindamycin, tetracycline, chloramphenicol, and ciprofloxacin against Plasmodium falciparum under static and dynamic conditions. In microtiter plate assays (static conditions), and as expected, parasites displayed the delayed death response characteristic for apicoplast-targeting drugs. However, rescue by isopentenyl pyrophosphate was variable, ranging from 2,700-fold for clindamycin to just 1.7-fold for ciprofloxacin, suggesting that ciprofloxacin has targets other than the apicoplast. We also examined the pharmacokinetic-pharmacodynamic relationships of these antibacterials in an in vitro glass hollow-fiber system that exposes parasites to dynamically changing drug concentrations. The same total dose and area under the concentration-time curve (AUC) of the drug was deployed either as a single short-lived high peak (bolus) or as a constant low concentration (infusion). All four antibacterials were unambiguously time-driven against malaria parasites: infusions had twice the efficacy of bolus regimens, for the same AUC. The time-dependent efficacy of ciprofloxacin against malaria is in contrast to its concentration-driven action against bacteria. In silico simulations of clinical dosing regimens and resulting pharmacokinetics revealed that current regimens do not maximize time above the MICs of these drugs. Our findings suggest that simple and rational changes to dosing may improve the efficacy of antibacterials against falciparum malaria.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article numbere00416-19
JournalAntimicrobial agents and chemotherapy
Issue number11
StatePublished - 2019


  • Chemotherapy
  • Chloramphenicol
  • Ciprofloxacin
  • Clindamycin
  • Doxycycline
  • Malaria
  • PK/PD
  • Pharmacodynamics
  • Pharmacokinetics
  • Plasmodium falciparum
  • Tetracycline

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pharmacology
  • Pharmacology (medical)
  • Infectious Diseases


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