Background/aims: In a recent phase III clinical trial on linezolid, more patients in the linezolid treatment arm acquired Gram-negative catheter-related bloodstream infections despite the adequate therapy of infections caused by Gram-negative bacteria. We tested our hypothesis that linezolid impairs phagocytosis and the killing of Gram-negative bacteria by polymorphonuclear leukocytes (PMN).
Methods: The influence of clinically relevant concentrations (5, 20 and 50 mg/l) of linezolid on granulocyte function in vitro was tested. Phagocytosis was determined by flow cytometry, and killing of bacteria was evaluated by plate counting. Chemotaxis was examined by an under-agarose cell migration assay. Gram-positive and Gram-negative bacteria were used.
Results: Linezolid significantly impaired phagocytosis of a specific Escherichia coli strain in a concentration-dependent manner, whereas the effect on Pseudomonas aeruginosa was less prominent. No such effects were observed with a different E. coli strain or Staphylococcus aureus. Neither killing nor the chemotactic behaviour of PMN was significantly affected by linezolid.
Conclusions: The observed concentration-dependent impairment of the phagocytic function might contribute to the higher frequency of catheter-related Gram-negative bloodstream infections in patients treated with linezolid. Individual patient risk may also depend on the causative Gram-negative strain.
Copyright © 2012 S. Karger AG, Basel.