With the growing body of knowledge on the contribution of efflux activity to Mycobacterium tuberculosis drug resistance, increased attention has been given to the use of efflux inhibitors as adjuvants of tuberculosis therapy. Here, we investigated how efflux activity modulates the levels of efflux between monoresistant and multi- and extensively drug resistant (M/XDR) M. tuberculosis clinical isolates. The strains were characterized by antibiotic susceptibility testing in the presence/absence of efflux inhibitors, molecular typing, and genetic analysis of drug-resistance-associated genes. Efflux activity was quantified by real-time fluorometry. The results demonstrated that all the M. tuberculosis clinical strains, susceptible or resistant, presented a faster, rapid, and non-specific efflux-mediated short-term response to drugs. The synergism assays demonstrated that the efflux inhibitors were more effective in reducing the resistance levels in the M/XDR strains than in the monoresistant strains. This indicated that M/XDR strains presented a more prolonged response to drugs mediated by efflux compared to the monoresistant strains, but both maintain it as a long-term stress response. This work shows that efflux activity modulates the levels of drug resistance between monoresistant and M/XDR M. tuberculosis clinical strains, allowing the bacteria to survive in the presence of noxious compounds.
- efflux inhibitors
- resistance levels