Thymol increases sensitivity of clinical Col-R gram-negative bacteria to colistin.

PMID: Microbiol Spectr. 2022 Jun 14: e0018422. Epub 2022 Jun 14. PMID: 35700133 Abstract Title: Thymol Increases Sensitivity of Clinical Col-R Gram-Negative Bacteria to Colistin. Abstract: Colistin-resistant (Col-R) bacteria are increasing sharply, which poses a serious threat to public health. Thymol is a phenolic compound used for its wide-spectrum antimicrobial activity, while the combination of nontraditional drugs to restore colistin activity is an attractive strategy to treat infections caused by these pathogens. This study showed that thymol could play a synergistic role with colistin against Gram-negative bacteria (GNB), including nonfermenting bacteria and Enterobacteriaceae. According to antimicrobial resistance profiles, most of the colistin-resistant strains we collected showed multidrug-resistant (MDR) phenotypes. The checkerboard method and time-kill curve confirmed the synergistic effect of thymol combined with colistin against Col-R GNB. The synergistic antibiofilm activity of thymol combined with colistin was assessed via crystal violet staining and scanning electron microscopy (SEM) assays. Results showed that compared with a single drug, the combination partially destroyed bacterial cells and inhibited the formation of bacterial biofilms. Mechanismly, the thymol / colistin combination synergistically potentiated the antibacterial activity by accelerating the damage and permeability of the bacterial outer membrane. Preliminary data indicated that the thymol / colistin combination could decrease the number of bacteria≥2 logCFU / mL after 24 h of therapy in a mouse thigh infection model. Our results fully prove that thymol and colistin combination possesses a promising treatment option against colistin-resistant GNB infections.Colistin is being considered "the last ditch" treatment in many infections caused by multidrug-resistant GNB clinical isolates, but colistin-resistant (Col-R) strains with different drug resistance mechanisms have appeared worldwide. Hence, it is of great significance to rejuvenate sensitization of clinical Col-R Gram-negative bacteria to colistin. In this study, the thymol / colistin combination showed notable antibacterial activityand. These findings suggest that the thymol / colistin combination may have promise as a treatment approach for treating the infections caused by Col-R pathogens.

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