Resistance to isoniazid (INH), one of the main drugs used in tuberculosis (TB) therapy, is mostly due to chromosomal mutations in target genes. However, approximately 20-30% of INH resistant Mycobacterium tuberculosis isolates do not have mutations in any of the genes associated with INH resistance. This suggests that other mechanism(s) may be involved, namely efflux pump systems capable of extruding the drug to the exterior of the cell. In a previous work, we have induced clinical INH susceptible M. tuberculosis isolates and the H37Rv reference strain to high-level resistance to INH, by gradual exposure to increasing concentrations of this drug. In the present study, we have characterized these strains and Mycobacterium bovis BCG induced to INH resistance with respect to their efflux activity and its contribution to INH resistance using the following approach: determination of the susceptibility to INH in the presence and absence of the efflux inhibitors (EIs) chlorpromazine, thioridazine and verapamil; evaluation of efflux activity by a semi-automated fluorometric method; and quantification of the expression level of genes coding for efflux pumps by real-time RT-qPCR.The EIs decreased INH resistance in the INH induced strains, in particular verapamil promoted a reversal of resistance in some of the strains tested. The induced strains presented an increased efflux activity that was inhibited by the EIs and showed overexpression of the efflux pump genes efpA, mmpL7, mmr, p55 and the Tap-like gene Rv1258c. Altogether, these results correlate efflux activity with INH resistance and demonstrate that efflux pumps play an important role in acquired INH resistance in M. tuberculosis complex. The development of EIs that can restore the antimicrobial activity of the antibiotic subject to efflux is an approach that can be useful in order to prevent the emergence of this resistance and guide the development of new effective anti-TB therapeutical approaches.
- Efflux inhibitors
- Efflux pumps
- Isoniazid resistance
- Mycobacterium bovis
- Mycobacterium tuberculosis
UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs)
- SDG 3 - Good Health and Well-Being