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Hoffmann, R. A wiki for the life sciences where authorship matters. Nature Genetics (2008)

Comparative activity of macrolides against Toxoplasma gondii demonstrating utility of an in vitro microassay.

The utility of spiramycin for preventing transplacental transmission of toxoplasmosis and the efficacy of conventional macrolides against Toxoplasma gondii are subjects of active debate. An in vitro microassay was developed to determine the relative inhibitory activity against T. gondii of 24 conventional macrolides derived from erythromycin and tylosin (14- and 16-membered macrolides, respectively). Macrolides and T. gondii RH tachyzoites were added to monolayers of BT cells grown in 96-well plates. Plates were incubated for 20 h at 37 degrees C, and the growth of T. gondii was then measured by the selective incorporation of [3H]uracil in trichloroacetic acid-precipitable material during an additional incubation of 20 h. Dose-response curves and 50 and 90% inhibitory concentrations (IC50 and IC90, respectively) were determined for each drug. Microscopic examination was performed on stained replicates of the infected monolayers, and the relative toxicities of the drugs for host cells were determined. Spiramycin and tylosin showed only limited activity against T. gondii (IC50 of 20.16 and 20.00 micrograms/ml, respectively). Erythromycin and azithromycin had a better anti-Toxoplasma activity with IC50 of 14.38 and 8.61 micrograms/ml, respectively, whereas drugs like desmycosin, dirithromycin, and roxithromycin had no detectable activity. Although many macrolides inhibited intracellular proliferation of T. gondii, azithromycin was the only macrolide demonstrating prolonged inhibitory activity on the replication of intracellular tachyzoites. We conclude that conventional 14- and 16-membered macrolides often interfere with the growth of, but may not kill, T. gondii RH tachyzoites in vitro.[1]


  1. Comparative activity of macrolides against Toxoplasma gondii demonstrating utility of an in vitro microassay. Chamberland, S., Kirst, H.A., Current, W.L. Antimicrob. Agents Chemother. (1991) [Pubmed]
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