Background: Daptomycin, a lipopeptide antibiotic, could be an alternative to vancomycin for treatment of pneumococcal meningitis. We determined the activity of daptomycin versus vancomycin, with dexamethasone as an adjuvant, in a murine model of pneumococcal meningitis.
Methods: Ninety-six 25-30 gram mice were inoculated intracisternally with serotype 3 Streptococcus pneumoniae modified by the integration of a luminescent lux operon. All mice were treated with either dexamethasone 1 mg/kg intraperitoneally every 6 hours alone or in combination with either vancomycin or daptomycin, also administered intraperitoneally. Serum antimicrobial concentrations were selected to approximate those achieved in humans. Following treatment, bioluminescence and cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) bacterial concentrations were determined. Caspase-3 staining was used to assess apoptosis on brain histopathology.
Results: Sixteen hours post intracisternal inoculation, bacterial titers in CSF were 6.8 log10 cfu/ml. Amongst the animals given no antibiotic, vancomycin 50 mg/kg at 16 and 20 hours or daptomycin 25 mg/kg at 16 hours, CSF titers were 7.6, 3.4, and 3.9 log10 cfu/ml, respectively, at 24 hours post infection (p-value, < 0.001 for both vancomycin or daptomycin versus no antibiotic); there was no significant difference in bactericidal activity between the vancomycin and daptomycin groups (p-value, 0.18). CSF bioluminescence correlated with bacterial titer (Pearson regression coefficient, 0.75). The amount of apoptosis of brain parenchymal cells was equivalent among treatment groups.
Conclusion: Daptomycin or vancomycin, when given in combination with dexamethasone, is active in the treatment of experimental pneumococcal meningitis.