© 2018 Hu et al. This is an open access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original author and source are credited. Introduction Multidrug-resistant Acinetobacter baumannii (A. baumannii) has become one of the greatest threats worldwide to the therapeutic management of infections. Our previous research confirmed an in vitro synergistic effect of amlodipine and imipenem against A. baumannii, and this study is designed to understand its mechanism. Methods Sixty-four non-duplicate A. baumannii isolates were collected and tested for antimicrobial susceptibility by the disk diffusion method. PCR amplification and sequencing were used to identify the presence of the adeB, adeE, adeH, adeJ, abeM and abeS efflux pump genes. The minimal inhibitory concentrations of imipenem, imipenem+amlodipine and imipenem +carbonyl cyanide m–chlorophenyl-hydrazone against these isolates were also determined by the broth microdilution method before and after siRNA silencing of the expression of the adeABC efflux pump. Results In this study, the combination of amlodipine with imipenem showed synergistic antimicrobial activity against sixty-four A. baumannii isolates when compared with the activity of imipenem alone (p<0.025). In the multidrug-resistant group, AML was more effective than carbonyl cyanide m–chlorophenyl-hydrazone (p<0.001). The efflux pump genes adeB, adeE, adeH, adeJ, abeM and abeS were detected in 100% (4/64), 75% (48/64), 0% (0/64), 100% (64/64), 96.9% (62/64) and 96.9% (62/64) of the sixty-four A. baumannii isolates, respectively. The expression of the adeABC efflux pump genes in the multidrug-resistant group (5.05±19.25) is clearly higher than in the non-multidrug-resistant group (0.17±0.20), (p = 0.01). A gene silencing test verified that the mRNA expression levels of adeABC were decreased at 12 h and increased at 24 h, while the reversal of imipenem resistance by amlodipine disappeared at 12 h and reappeared at 24 h. Conclusions The combination of amlodipine with imipenem exhibits an in vitro synergistic antimicrobial effect on multidrug-resistant A. baumannii, which may be due to the inhibition of the AdeABC efflux pump.
Hu, C., Li, Y., Zhao, Z., Wei, S., Zhao, Z., Chen, H., & Wu, P. (2018). In vitro synergistic effect of amlodipine and imipenem on the expression of the AdeABC efflux pump in multidrug-resistant Acinetobacter baumannii. PLoS ONE, 13(6). https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0198061