Gomis-Font MA, et al. J Antimicrob Chemother 2020.
OBJECTIVES: We analysed the dynamics and mechanisms of resistance development to imipenem alone or combined with relebactam in P. aeruginosa WT (PAO1) and mutator (PAOMS; ΔmutS) strains.
METHODS: PAO1 or PAOMS strains were incubated for 24 h in Mueller-Hinton Broth with 0.125-64 mg/L of imipenem ± relebactam 4 mg/L. Tubes from the highest antibiotic concentration showing growth were reinoculated in fresh medium containing concentrations up to 64 mg/L of imipenem ± relebactam for 7 days. Two colonies per strain, replicate experiment and antibiotic from early (Day 1) and late (Day 7) cultures were characterized by determining the susceptibility profiles, WGS and determination of the expression of ampC and efflux-pump-coding genes. Virulence was studied in a Caenorhabditis elegans infection model.
RESULTS: Relebactam reduced imipenem resistance development for both strains, although resistance emerged much faster for PAOMS. WGS indicated that imipenem resistance was associated with mutations in the porin OprD and regulators of ampC, while the mutations in imipenem/relebactam-resistant mutants were located in oprD and regulators of MexAB-OprM. High-level imipenem/relebactam resistance was only documented in the PAOMS strain and was associated with an additional specific (T680A) mutation located in the catalytic pocket of ponA (PBP1a) and with reduced virulence in the C. elegans model.
CONCLUSIONS: Imipenem/relebactam could be a useful alternative for the treatment of MDR P. aeruginosa infections, potentially reducing resistance development during treatment. Moreover, this work deciphers the potential resistance mechanisms that may emerge upon the introduction of this novel combination into clinical practice.