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Effects of vancomycin versus nafcillin in enhancing killing of methicillin-susceptible Staphylococcus aureus causing bacteremia by human cathelicidin LL-37.
Le J, Dam Q, Schweizer M, Thienphrapa W, Nizet V, Sakoulas G. Effects of vancomycin versus nafcillin in enhancing killing of methicillin-susceptible Staphylococcus aureus causing bacteremia by human cathelicidin LL-37. European Journal of Clinical Microbiology & Infectious Diseases. 2016 Sep 1; 35(9):1441-7.
Recent studies have demonstrated that anti-staphylococcal beta-lactam antibiotics, like nafcillin, render methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) more susceptible to killing by innate host defense peptides (HDPs), such as cathelicidin LL-37. We compared the effects of growth in 1/4 minimum inhibitory concentration (MIC) of nafcillin or vancomycin on the LL-37 killing of 92 methicillin-susceptible S. aureus (MSSA) isolates. For three randomly selected strains among these, we examined the effects of nafcillin, vancomycin, daptomycin, or linezolid on LL-37 killing and autolysis. Growth in the presence of subinhibitory nafcillin significantly enhanced LL-37 killing of MSSA compared to vancomycin and antibiotic-free controls. Nafcillin also reduced MSSA production of the golden staphylococcal pigment staphyloxanthin in 39 % of pigmented strains vs. 14 % for vancomycin. Among the antibiotics tested, only nafcillin resulted in significantly increased MSSA autolysis. These studies point to additional mechanisms of anti-staphylococcal activity of nafcillin beyond direct bactericidal activity, properties that vancomycin and other antibiotic classes do not exhibit. The ability of nafcillin to enhance sensitivity to innate HDPs may contribute to its superior effectiveness against MSSA, as suggested by studies comparing clinical outcomes to vancomycin treatment.