Effectiveness of Plasmocure™ in Elimination of Mycoplasma Species from Contaminated Cell Cultures: A Comparative Study versus other Antibiotics

Cell J. 2019 Jul;21(2):143-149. doi: 10.22074/cellj.2019.5996. Epub 2019 Feb 20.


Objective: Mycoplasmas spp. is among major contaminants of eukaryotic cell cultures. They cause a wide range of problems associated with cell culture in biology research centers or biotechnological companies. Mycoplasma are also resistant to several antibiotics. Plasmocin™ has been used to treat cell lines but Plasmocin™-resistant strains have been reported. InvivoGen has developed a new anti-Mycoplasma agent called Plasmocure™ in order to eliminate resistant Mycoplasma contamination. The aim of this study was the selection of the best antibiotics for treatment of Mycoplasma in cell cultures.

Materials and methods: In this experimental study, a total of 100 different mammalian cell lines contaminated with different Mycoplasma species were evaluated by microbiological culture (as the gold standard method), indirect DNA fluorochrome staining, enzymatic (MycoAlert™), and universal or species-specific polymerase chain reaction (PCR) detection methods. In this study, animal and human cell lines available in National Cell Bank of Iran, were treated with Plasmocure™. The treatment efficacy and cytotoxicity of Plasmocure™ were compared with those of commonly used antibiotics such as BMcyclin, Plasmocin™, MycoRAZOR™, sparfloxacin and enrofloxacin.

Results: Plasmocure™ is comprised of two antibiotics that act through various mechanisms of action than those in Plasmocin™. Two-week treatment with Plasmocure™ was enough to completely eliminate Mycoplasma spp. A moderate toxicity was observed during Mycoplasma treatment with plasmocure™; But, after elimination of Mycoplasma, cells were fully recovered. Mycoplasma infections were eliminated by Plasmocure™, BM-cyclin, Plasmocin™, MycoRAZOR™, sparfloxacin and enrofloxacin. However, the outcome of the treatment process (i.e. the frequency of complete cure, regrowth or cell death) varied among different antibiotics.

Conclusion: The highest number of cured cell lines was achieved by using Plasmocure™ which also had the lowest regrowth rate after a period of four months. As a conclusion; Plasmocure™ might be considered an effective antibiotic to treat Mycoplasma infections in mammalian cell cultures especially for precious or vulnerable cells.

Keywords: Cell Culture; Cytotoxicity; Mycoplasma; Treatment.