Methionine ameliorates polymyxin-induced nephrotoxicity by attenuating cellular oxidative stress

Mohammad A. K. Azad, Sivashangarie Sivanesan, Jiping Wang, Ke Chen, Roger L. Nation, Philip E. Thompson, Kade D. Roberts, Tony Velkov, Jian Li

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23 Citations (Scopus)


Polymyxins are a last line of defense against multidrug-resistant Gramnegative pathogens. Recent pharmacological data show that intravenous polymyxins can cause nephrotoxicity in up to 60% of patients, and the plasma concentrations of polymyxins achieved with the currently recommended dosage regimens are suboptimal in a large proportion of patients. Simply increasing the daily dose of polymyxins is not possible due to nephrotoxicity. This study aimed to examine the protective effect of methionine against polymyxin-induced nephrotoxicity. Methionine (400 mg/kg of body weight), polymyxin B (35 mg/kg), a combination of methionine (100 or 400 mg/kg) and polymyxin B, and saline were administered to mice twice daily over 3.5 days. Kidneys were collected immediately at the end of the experiment for histological examination. The effect of methionine on the pharmacokinetics of polymyxin B was investigated in rats. The attenuation of polymyxin B (0.75 mM)-induced mitochondrial superoxide production by methionine (10.0 mM) was examined in rat kidney (NRK-52E) cells. Histological results revealed that the polymyxin-induced nephrotoxicity in mice was ameliorated by methionine in a dose-dependent manner. The methionine doses were well tolerated in the mice and rats, and the pharmacokinetics of polymyxin B in rats were not affected by methionine. In the group receiving polymyxin B-methionine, the total body clearance of polymyxin B was very similar to that in the group receiving polymyxin B alone (3.71 ± 0.57 versus 3.12 ± 1.66 ml/min/kg, P0.05). A substantial attenuation of polymyxin-induced mitochondrial superoxide production in NRK-52E cells was observed following pretreatment with methionine. Our results demonstrate that coadministration of methionine significantly ameliorated polymyxin-induced nephrotoxicity and decreased mitochondrial superoxide production in renal tubular cells.

Original languageEnglish
Article numbere01254
Number of pages9
JournalAntimicrobial Agents and Chemotherapy
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 2018


  • Methionine
  • Nephrotoxicity
  • Oxidative stress
  • Polymyxins

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