Fluoroquinolone efficacy against tuberculosis is driven by penetration into lesions and activity against resident bacterial populations

Jansy Sarathy, Landry Blanc, Nadine Alvarez-Cabrera, Paul O’Brien, Isabela Dias-Freedman, Marizel Mina, Matthew Zimmerman, Firat Kaya, Hsin Pin Ho Liang, Brendan Prideaux, Jillian Dietzold, Padmini Salgame, Radojka M. Savic, Jennifer Linderman, Denise Kirschner, Elsje Pienaar, Véronique Dartois

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

15 Scopus citations


Fluoroquinolones represent the pillar of multidrug-resistant tuberculosis (MDR-TB) treatment, with moxifloxacin, levofloxacin, or gatifloxacin being prescribed to MDR-TB patients. Recently, several clinical trials of “universal” drug regimens, aiming to treat drug-susceptible and drug-resistant TB, have included a fluoroquinolone. In the absence of clinical data comparing their side-by-side efficacies in controlled MDR-TB trials, a pharmacological rationale is needed to guide the selection of the most efficacious fluoroquinolone. The present studies were designed to test the hypothesis that fluoroquinolone concentrations (pharmacokinetics) and activity (pharmacodynamics) at the site of infection are better predictors of efficacy than the plasma concentrations and potency measured in standard growth inhibition assays and are better suited to determinations of whether one of the fluoroquinolones outperforms the others in rabbits with active TB. We first measured the penetration of these fluoroquinolones in lung lesion compartments, and their potency against bacterial populations that reside in each compartment, to compute lesion-centric pharmacokinetic-pharmacodynamic (PK/PD) parameters. PK modeling methods were used to quantify drug penetration from plasma to tissues at human-equivalent doses. On the basis of these metrics, moxifloxacin emerged with a clear advantage, whereas plasma-based PK/PD favored levofloxacin (the ranges of the plasma AUC/ MIC ratio [i.e., the area under the concentration-time curve over 24 h in the steady state divided by the MIC] are 46 to 86 for moxifloxacin and 74 to 258 for levofloxacin). A comparative efficacy trial in the rabbit model of active TB demonstrated the superiority of moxifloxacin in reducing bacterial burden at the lesion level and in sterilizing cellular and necrotic lesions. Collectively, these results show that PK/PD data obtained at the site of infection represent an adequate predictor of drug efficacy against TB and constitute the baseline required to explore synergies, antagonism, and drug-drug interactions in fluoroquinolone-containing regimens.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article numbere02516-18
JournalAntimicrobial agents and chemotherapy
Issue number5
StatePublished - May 2019
Externally publishedYes


  • Fluoroquinolone
  • Lesion-centric pharmacology
  • MDR-TB
  • Moxifloxacin
  • Tuberculosis

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pharmacology
  • Pharmacology (medical)
  • Infectious Diseases


Dive into the research topics of 'Fluoroquinolone efficacy against tuberculosis is driven by penetration into lesions and activity against resident bacterial populations'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this