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Piperacillin-tazobactam (TZP) is a frequently prescribed antibiotic in hospital settings. Reports suggest in vivo efficacy of TZP, despite in vitro resistance of isolates susceptible to cephalosporins. Escherichia coli (E. coli) isolates hyperproducing TEM-1 β-lactamase possess this phenotype. This study investigated the influence of tazobactam (TAZ) concentration on piperacillin (PIP) inhibition of such isolates and compared the in vivo efficacy of TZP with cefotaxime (CTX) in an infection model. The PIP MICs for E. coli isolates, either hyperproducing TEM-1 because of promoter substitutions (n = 4) or because of gene amplification (n = 2) or producing an inhibitor-resistant TEM-35 (IRT) (n = 1), were determined using increasing concentrations of TAZ in a checkerboard setup. Furthermore, the efficacy of TZP and CTX against the isolates was investigated in a mouse peritonitis model using antibiotic exposures mimicking human conditions. Isolates producing either OXA-48 or CTX-M-15 β-lactamases were included as controls. Using TAZ concentrations ≤ 64 mg/L, one isolate hyperproducing TEM-1 had a PIP MIC of 8 at TAZ 16 mg/L and two additional isolates at TAZ 64 mg/L. In the mouse peritonitis infection model, reduction of bacterial load in the peritoneum was larger for TZP than CTX only for the CTX-M-15-producing isolate. Larger reductions in bacterial load were observed after CTX treatment than TZP treatment for seven of the eight remaining test isolates. Piperacillin-tazobactam treatment of E. coli isolates hyperproducing TEM-1 was less effective than CTX treatment and may, for some isolates, be comparable with TZP treatment of isolates producing established resistance markers as IRT or OXA-48. Copyright © 2022 The Authors. Published by Elsevier Ltd.. All rights reserved.


Frederik Boëtius Hertz, Minna Rud Andreasen, Stine Radmer Almind, Karen Leth Nielsen, Katrine Hartung Hansen, Lotte Jelsbak, Niels Frimodt-Møller, Kristian Schønning. Efficacy of piperacillin-tazobactam and cefotaxime against Escherichia coli hyperproducing TEM-1 in a mouse peritonitis infection model. International journal of antimicrobial agents. 2022 Apr;59(4):106543

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PMID: 35134504

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