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In-Sun Choi, Choon-Mee Kim and Sook-Jin Jang

Abstract

Background

Understanding the contribution of efflux pumps to the resistance of antibiotics is useful when considering strategies for antimicrobial therapy.

Objectives

To assess the role of efflux activity on the resistance of antibiotics commonly used in hospitals.

Methods

We analyzed the efflux activity of 120 clinical isolates of Acinetobacter baumannii using an Hoechst 33342 (H33342) dye-accumulation assay. We compared the indicators for efflux activity of susceptible and non-susceptible groups of each of 16 tested antibiotics. To determine the role of efflux activity on resistance to an antibiotic, we used 3 criteria based on the results of the H33342-accumulation assay.

Results

The evaluation suggests that efflux activity contributed to resistance to the following 11 antibiotics: cefepime, cefotaxime, ceftazidime, ciprofloxacin, gentamicin, imipenem, meropenem, piperacillin, piperacillin/tazobactam, ticarcillin/ clavulanic acid, and tigecycline. However, ampicillin/sulbactam, minocycline, and trimethoprim/sulfamethoxazole did not meet the criteria, suggesting resistance may not be mediated by efflux activity. A significant difference in efflux activity was observed between bacteria belonging to the multidrug-resistant Acinetobacter baumannii (MDRAB) group and those belonging to the non-MDRAB group.

Conclusions

Efflux activity may contribute to multidrug resistance and particularly resistance to numerous antibiotics used in hospitals. These antibiotics would be good candidates for combination therapeutic regimens consisting of an antibiotic and an efflux pump inhibitor as an adjuvant to combat drug efflux.