The aims of this study were (i) to determine if the combination of mitomycin C with pentamidine or existing antibiotics resulted in enhanced efficacy versus infections with MDR P. aeruginosa in vivo; and (ii) to determine if the doses of mitomycin C and pentamidine in combination can be reduced to levels that are non-toxic in humans but still retain antibacterial activity. Resistant clinical isolates of P. aeruginosa, a mutant strain over-expressing the MexAB-OprM resistance nodulation division (RND) efflux pump and a strain with three RND pumps deleted, were used. MIC assays indicated that all strains were sensitive to mitomycin C, but deletion of three RND pumps resulted in hypersensitivity and over-expression of MexAB-OprM caused some resistance. These results imply that mitomycin C is a substrate of the RND efflux pumps. Mitomycin C monotherapy successfully treated infected Galleria mellonella larvae, albeit at doses too high for human administration. Checkerboard and time–kill assays showed that the combination of mitomycin C with pentamidine, or the antibiotic gentamicin, resulted in synergistic inhibition of most P. aeruginosa strains in vitro. In vivo, administration of a combination therapy of mitomycin C with pentamidine, or gentamicin, to G. mellonella larvae infected with P. aeruginosa resulted in enhanced efficacy compared with monotherapies for the majority of MDR clinical isolates. Notably, the therapeutic benefit conferred by the combination therapy occurred with doses of mitomycin C close to those used in human medicine. Thus, repurposing mitomycin C in combination therapies to target MDR P. aeruginosa infections merits further investigation.
- Galleria mellonella
- Drug repurposing
- Antibiotic resistance
- Antibiotic resistance breaker
- Combination therapy