Synergistic meropenem-tobramycin combination dosage regimens against clinical hypermutable Pseudomonas aeruginosa at simulated epithelial lining fluid concentrations in a dynamic biofilm model.

Hajira Bilal, Phillip J. Bergen, Tae Hwan Kim, Seung Eun Chung, Anton Y. Peleg, Antonio Oliver, Roger L. Nation, Cornelia B. Landersdorfer

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review

3 Citations (Scopus)


Exacerbations of chronic Pseudomonas aeruginosa infections are a major treatment challenge in cystic fibrosis due to biofilm formation and hypermutation. We aimed to evaluate different dosage regimens of meropenem and tobramycin as monotherapies and in combination against hypermutable carbapenem-resistant P. aeruginosa. A hypermutable P. aeruginosa isolate (meropenem and tobramycin MICs, 8 mg/liter) was investigated in the dynamic CDC biofilm reactor over 120 h. Regimens were meropenem as the standard (2 g every 8 h, 30% epithelial lining fluid [ELF] penetration) and as a continuous infusion (CI; 6 g/day, 30% and 60% ELF penetration) and tobramycin at 10 mg/kg of body weight every 24 h (50% ELF penetration). The time courses of totally susceptible and less-susceptible bacteria and MICs were determined, and antibiotic concentrations were quantified by liquid chromatography-tandem mass spectrometry. All monotherapies failed, with the substantial regrowth of planktonic (>6 log10 CFU/ml) and biofilm (>6 log10 CFU/cm2) bacteria occurring. Except for the meropenem CI (60% ELF penetration), all monotherapies amplified less-susceptible planktonic and biofilm bacteria by 120 h. The meropenem standard regimen with tobramycin caused initial killing followed by considerable regrowth with resistance (meropenem MIC, 64 mg/liter; tobramycin MIC, 32 mg/liter) for planktonic and biofilm bacteria. The combination containing the meropenem CI at both levels of ELF penetration synergistically suppressed the regrowth of total planktonic bacteria and the resistance of planktonic and biofilm bacteria. The combination with the meropenem CI at 60% ELF penetration, in addition, synergistically suppressed the regrowth of total biofilm bacteria. Standard regimens of meropenem and tobramycin were ineffective against planktonic and biofilm bacteria. The combination with meropenem CI exhibited enhanced bacterial killing and resistance suppression of carbapenem-resistant hypermutable P. aeruginosa.

Original languageEnglish
Article numbere01293-19
Pages (from-to)1-13
Number of pages13
JournalAntimicrobial Agents and Chemotherapy
Issue number11
Publication statusPublished - 2019


  • Antibiotic resistance
  • Biofilm infections
  • Combination therapy
  • Dosage regimens
  • Hypermutators

Cite this