Minocycline attenuates colistin-induced neurotoxicity via suppression of apoptosis, mitochondrial dysfunction and oxidative stress

Chongshan Dai, Giuseppe D. Ciccotosto, Roberto Cappai, Yang Wang, Shusheng Tang, Xilong Xiao, Tony Velkov

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Background: Neurotoxicity is an adverse effect patients experience during colistin therapy. The development of effective neuroprotective agents that can be co-administered during polymyxin therapy remains a priority area in antimicrobial chemotherapy. The present study investigates the neuroprotective effect of the synergistic tetracycline antibiotic minocycline against colistin-induced neurotoxicity. 

Methods: The impact of minocycline pretreatment on colistin-induced apoptosis, caspase activation, oxidative stress and mitochondrial dysfunction were investigated using cultured mouse neuroblastoma-2a (N2a) and primary cortical neuronal cells. 

Results: Colistin-induced neurotoxicity in mouse N2a and primary cortical cells gives rise to the generation of reactive oxygen species (ROS) and subsequent cell death via apoptosis. Pretreatment of the neuronal cells withminocycline at 5, 10 and 20 lM for 2 h prior to colistin (200 lM) exposure (24 h), had an neuroprotective effect by significantly decreasing intracellular ROS production and by upregulating the activities of the anti-ROS enzymes superoxide dismutase and catalase. Minocycline pretreatment also protected the cells from colistin-induced mitochondrial dysfunction, caspase activation and subsequent apoptosis. Immunohistochemical imaging studies revealed colistin accumulates within the dendrite projections and cell body of primary cortical neuronal cells. 

Conclusions: To our knowledge, this is first study demonstrating the protective effect of minocycline on colistininduced neurotoxicity by scavenging of ROS and suppression of apoptosis. Our study highlights that coadministration of minocycline kills two birds with one stone: in addition to its synergistic antimicrobial activity, minocycline could potentially ameliorate unwanted neurotoxicity in patients undergoing polymyxin therapy.

Original languageEnglish
Article numberdkx037
Pages (from-to)1635-1645
Number of pages11
JournalJournal of Antimicrobial Chemotherapy
Issue number6
Publication statusPublished - 2017

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