Sterilizing activity of pyrazinamide in combination with first-line drugs in a C3HeB/FeJ mouse model of tuberculosis

Jean Philippe Lanoix, Fabrice Betoudji, Eric Nuermberger

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Pyrazinamide (PZA) is a key sterilizing drug in first-line tuberculosis (TB) regimens and exerts its activity entirely during the first 2 months in human infections. We recently described the reduced activity of PZA in C3HeB/FeJ mice with large caseous tubercles due to neutral pH. Here, we aimed to determine the contribution of PZA to the sterilizing activity of the first-line TB regimen in C3HeB/FeJ and BALB/c mice. Three regimens were compared (in combinations: R, rifampin; H, isoniazid; E, ethambutol; Z, pyrazinamide; with numbers indicating the treatment duration, in months): 2RHEZ/4RH, 2RHE/4RH, and 2RHEZ/4RHZ. Lung CFU counts were assessed after 0 and 2 months of treatment, and relapse rates were assessed 3 months after 3, 4.5, and 6 months of treatment. The relapse rates after 3 months of treatment were 53% and 95% in C3HeB/FeJ mice receiving 2RHEZ/1RH and 2RHE/1RH, respectively, and 67%, 100%, and 80% in BALB/c receiving 2RHEZ/1RH, 2RHE/1RH, and 2RHEZ/1RHZ, respectively. The relapse rates after 4.5 months of treatment were 32%, 20%, and 0% in C3HeB/FeJ mice receiving 2RHEZ/2.5RH, 2RHE/2.5RH, and 2RHEZ/2.5RHZ, respectively, and 0% and 67% in BALB/c receiving 2RHEZ/2.5RH and 2RHE/2.5RH, respectively. The month-6 relapse rates were 0%, 13%, and 0% in C3HeB/FeJ mice given 2RHEZ/4RH, 2RHE/4RH, and 2RHEZ/4RHZ, respectively, and 7% in BALB/c mice receiving 2RHE/4RH. The addition of PZA shortens the duration of treatment needed to prevent relapse in both mouse strains. However, while its contribution is limited to the first 2 months of treatment in BALB/c mice, continuing PZA beyond the first 2 months is beneficial in C3HeB/FeJ mice by preventing relapse among those with the highest disease burden.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1091-1096
Number of pages6
JournalAntimicrobial agents and chemotherapy
Issue number2
StatePublished - Feb 2016

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pharmacology
  • Pharmacology (medical)
  • Infectious Diseases


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