Effects of isoniazid and of ceforanide against virulent tubercle bacilli in cultured human macrophages

Tubercle. 1988 Mar;69(1):15-25. doi: 10.1016/0041-3879(88)90036-0.


Isoniazid (INH) is said to inhibit tubercle bacilli equally well in vivo and in vitro, and to be mycobactericidal. Ceforanide (CEF) can inhibit tubercle bacilli in vitro but has been found ineffective clinically. These two drugs were tested against virulent tubercle bacilli in cultured human macrophages (MP), partly to compare the results with clinical experience, and partly for a better understanding of antituberculosis activities of these drugs in human beings. INH had the same minimal inhibitory concentration (MIC) against tubercle bacilli in MP as in 7H9 broth cultures. It killed multiplying bacilli in MP but not nonmultiplying bacilli, even at 100 times MIC. It killed both multiplying and nonmultiplying bacilli in broth cultures. It interfered with its own effectiveness against intra-MP bacilli by preventing nonmultiplying bacilli from beginning to multiply and thus become susceptible to killing. These findings help explain why this demonstrably mycobactericidal drug produces relapses of tuberculosis when used alone. It was confirmed that CEF is able to inhibit growth in broth cultures (MIC = 10 micrograms/ml). However, it was not effective against either multiplying or nonmultiplying bacilli in MP at concentrations up to 50 micrograms/ml. These results with the drugs INH and CEF support the good record of correlation between the human MP model of tuberculosis and clinical experience in antituberculosis chemotherapy.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Cefamandole / analogs & derivatives*
  • Cefamandole / pharmacology
  • Cells, Cultured
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Isoniazid / pharmacology*
  • Macrophages / microbiology*
  • Male
  • Microbial Sensitivity Tests
  • Middle Aged
  • Mycobacterium tuberculosis / drug effects*


  • Cefamandole
  • ceforanide
  • Isoniazid