Update on Acinetobacter Species: Mechanisms of Antimicrobial Resistance and Contemporary In Vitro Activity of Minocycline and Other Treatment Options

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Among Acinetobacter species, A. baumannii and other closely related species are commonly implicated in nosocomial infections. These organisms are usually multidrug resistant (MDR), and therapeutic options to treat A. baumannii infections are very limited. Clinicians have been resorting to older antimicrobial agents to treat infections caused by MDR A. baumannii, and some of these agents have documented toxicity and/or are not optimized for the infection type to be treated. Recent clinical experience supported by antimicrobial susceptibility data suggests that minocycline has greater activity than other tetracyclines and glycylcyclines against various MDR pathogens that have limited therapeutic options available, including Acinetobacter species. An intravenous formulation of minocycline has recently become available for clinical use, and in contrast to most older tetracyclines, minocycline has high activity against Acinetobacter species. In this report, we summarized some of the characteristics of the tetracycline class, and quantified the minocycline activity against contemporary (2007–2011) isolates and its potential therapeutic role against a collection of 5477 A. baumannii and other relevant gram-negative organisms when compared directly with tetracycline, doxycycline, and other broad-spectrum antimicrobial agents. Acinetobacter baumannii strains were highly resistant to all agents tested, with the exception of minocycline (79.1% susceptible) and colistin (98.8% susceptible). Minocycline (minimum inhibitory concentration that inhibits 50% and 90% of the isolates [MIC50/90]: 1/8 µg/mL) displayed greater activity than doxycycline (MIC50/90: 2/>8 µg/mL) and tetracycline hydrochloride (HCL) (only 30.2% susceptible) against A. baumannii isolates, and was significantly more active than other tetracyclines against Burkholderia cepacia, Escherichia coli, Serratia marcescens, and Stenotrophomonas maltophilia isolates. In vitro susceptibility testing using tetracycline HCL as a surrogate for the susceptibility other tetracyclines fails to detect minocycline-susceptible isolates and the potential utility of minocycline for the treatment of many MDR A. baumannii infections and other difficult-to-treat species, where there are often limited choices of antimicrobials.

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