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Open AccessArticle

Epinecidin-1 Protects against Methicillin Resistant Staphylococcus aureus Infection and Sepsis in Pyemia Pigs

Marine Research Station, Institute of Cellular and Organismic Biology, Academia Sinica, 23-10 Dahuen Road, Jiaushi, Ilan 262, Taiwan
Department and Graduate Institute of Aquaculture, National Kaohsiung University of Science and Technology, Kaohsiung 811, Taiwan
Department of Anatomy and Cell Biology, School of Medicine, College of Medicine, Taipei Medical University, Taipei 110, Taiwan
Department of Veterinary Medicine, College of Veterinary Medicine, National Pingtung University of Science and Technology, Pingtung 91201, Taiwan
Authors to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Contributed equally to this work.
Mar. Drugs 2019, 17(12), 693;
Received: 11 November 2019 / Revised: 3 December 2019 / Accepted: 5 December 2019 / Published: 9 December 2019
Methicillin resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) may be found on the skin, nose, and throats of long-term hospitalized patients. While MRSA infections are usually minor, serious infections and death may occur in immunocompromised or diabetic patients, or after exposure of MRSA to blood. This report demonstrates that the antimicrobial peptide (AMP) epinecidin-1 (Epi-1) efficiently protects against MRSA infection in a pyemia pig model. We first found that Epi-1 exhibits bactericidal activity against MRSA. Next, pharmacokinetic analysis revealed that Epi-1 was stable in serum for 4 h after injection, followed by a gradual decrease. This pharmacokinetic profile suggested Epi-1 may bind serum albumin, which was confirmed in vitro. Harmful effects were not observed for doses up to 100 mg/kg body weight in pigs. When Epi-1 was supplied as a curative agent 30 min post-infection, MRSA-induced abnormalities in blood uric acid (UA), blood urea nitrogen (BUN), creatine (CRE), GOT, and GPT levels were restored to normal levels. We further showed that the bactericidal activity of Epi-1 was higher than that of the antibiotic drug vancomycin. Epi-1 significantly decreased MRSA counts in the blood, liver, kidney, heart, and lungs of infected pigs. Elevated levels of serum C reactive protein (CRP), proinflammatory cytokine IL6, IL1β, and TNFα were also attenuated by Epi-1 treatment. Moreover, the MRSA genes, enterotoxin (et)-A, et-B, intrinsic methicillin resistance A (mecA), and methicillin resistance factor A (femA), were significantly reduced or abolished in MRSA-infected pigs after treatment with Epi-1. Hematoxylin and eosin staining of heart, liver, lung, and kidney sections indicated that Epi-1 attenuated MRSA toxicity in infected pigs. A survival study showed that the pyemia pigs infected with MRSA alone died within a week, whereas the pigs post-treated with 2.5 mg/kg Epi-1 were completely protected against death. The present investigation, thus, demonstrates that Epi-1 effectively protects pyemia pigs against pathogenic MRSA without major toxic side effects. View Full-Text
Keywords: antimicrobial peptide (AMP); epinecidin-1; MRSA; pyemia pigs antimicrobial peptide (AMP); epinecidin-1; MRSA; pyemia pigs
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Huang, H.-N.; Pan, C.-Y.; Su, B.-C.; Wu, H.-Y.; Chen, J.-Y. Epinecidin-1 Protects against Methicillin Resistant Staphylococcus aureus Infection and Sepsis in Pyemia Pigs. Mar. Drugs 2019, 17, 693.

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