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In vitro susceptibility of Neisseria gonorrhoeae to netilmicin and etimicin in comparison to gentamicin and other aminoglycosides.

PURPOSE: Single doses of gentamicin have demonstrated clinical efficacy in the treatment of urogenital gonorrhea, but lower cure rates for oropharyngeal and anorectal gonorrhea. Formulations selectively enriched in specific gentamicin C congeners have been proposed as a less toxic alternative to gentamicin, potentially permitting higher dosing to result in increased plasma exposures at the extragenital sites of infection. The purpose of the present study was to compare the antibacterial activity of individual gentamicin C congeners against Neisseria gonorrhoeae to that of other aminoglycoside antibiotics.

METHODS: Antimicrobial susceptibility of three N. gonorrhoeae reference strains and 152 clinical isolates was assessed using standard disk diffusion, agar dilution, and epsilometer tests.

RESULTS: Gentamicin C1, C2, C1a, and C2a demonstrated similar activity against N. gonorrhoeae. Interestingly, susceptibility to the 1-N-ethylated aminoglycosides etimicin and netilmicin was significantly higher than the susceptibility to their parent compounds gentamicin C1a and sisomicin, and to any other of the 25 aminoglycosides assessed in this study. Propylamycin, a 4'-propylated paromomycin analogue, was significantly more active against N. gonorrhoeae than its parent compound, too.

CONCLUSION: Selectively enriched gentamicin formulations hold promise for a less toxic but equally efficacious alternative to gentamicin. Our study warrants additional consideration of the clinically established netilmicin and etimicin for treatment of genital and perhaps extragenital gonorrhea. Additional studies are required to elucidate the mechanism behind the advantage of alkylated aminoglycosides.

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