Tuberculosis is a highly contagious disease caused by Mycobacterium tuberculosis. It affects about 10 million people each year and is still one of the leading causes of death worldwide. About 2 to 3 billion people (equivalent to 1 in 3 people in the world) are infected with latent tuberculosis. Moreover, as the number of multidrug-resistant, extensively drug-resistant, and totally drug-resistant strains of M. tuberculosis continues to increase, there is an urgent need to develop new anti-tuberculosis drugs that are different from existing drugs to combat antibiotic-resistant M. tuberculosis. Against this background, we aimed to develop new anti-tuberculosis drugs using probiotics. Here, we report the anti-tuberculosis effect of Pediococcus acidilactici PMC202 isolated from young radish kimchi, a traditional Korean fermented food. Under coculture conditions, PMC202 inhibited the growth of M. tuberculosis. In addition, PMC202 inhibited the growth of drug-sensitive and -resistant M. tuberculosis- infected macrophages at a concentration that did not show cytotoxicity and showed a synergistic effect with isoniazid. In a 2-week, repeated oral administration toxicity study using mice, PMC202 did not cause weight change or specific clinical symptoms. Furthermore, the results of 16S rRNA-based metagenomics analysis confirmed that dysbiosis was not induced in bronchoalveolar lavage fluid after oral administration of PMC202. The anti-tuberculosis effect of PMC202 was found to be related to the reduction of nitric oxide. Our findings indicate that PMC202 could be used as an anti-tuberculosis drug candidate with the potential to replace current chemicalbased drugs. However, more extensive toxicity, mechanism of action, and animal efficacy studies with clinical trials are needed.
Keywords: Mycobacterium tuberculosis; Pediococcus acidilactici; anti-tuberculosis effect; microbiome; probiotics.