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Open AccessArticle

Antimycobacterial Effects of Everolimus in a Human Granuloma Model

Graduate College of Biomedical Sciences, Western University of Health Sciences, Pomona, CA 91766, USA
College of Osteopathic Medicine of the Pacific, Western University of Health Sciences, Pomona, CA 91766, USA
College of Pharmacy, Western University of Health Sciences, Pomona, CA 91766, USA
Public Health Research Institute at the New Jersey Medical School, Rutgers-The State University of New Jersey, Newark, NJ 07103, USA
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
J. Clin. Med. 2020, 9(7), 2043;
Received: 4 May 2020 / Revised: 14 June 2020 / Accepted: 22 June 2020 / Published: 29 June 2020
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Recent Advances in Mycobacterial Research)
Mycobacterium tuberculosis (M. tb) has been historically and is currently a threat to global public health. First-line antibiotics have been effective but proven to be burdensome as they have many potential adverse side effects. There has been a recent increase in the number of active tuberculosis (TB) cases due to a prevalence of multidrug and extensively drug-resistant strains of M. tb, and an increasing number of highly susceptible people such as those with Type 2 Diabetes (T2DM) and human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) infection. Multidrug-resistant M. tb infection (MDR-TB) is challenging to treat with existing therapeutics, so novel therapeutics and treatment strategies must be developed. Host-Directed Therapy (HDT) has been a potential target mechanism for effective clearance of infection. Host cell autophagy plays an essential role in antibacterial defense. The mammalian target of rapamycin (mTOR) has been negatively correlated with autophagy induction. Everolimus is an mTOR inhibitor that induces autophagy, but with higher water solubility. Therefore, targeting the mTOR pathway has the potential to develop novel and more effective combination drug therapy for TB. This study tested the effect of everolimus, alone and in combination with current first-line antibiotics (isoniazid and pyrazinamide), on the inhibition of M. tb inside in vitro human granulomas. We found that M. tb-infected in vitro granulomas treated with everolimus alone resulted in significantly decreased M. tb burden compared to similar granulomas in the control group. Cells treated with everolimus doses of either 1 nM or 2 nM in conjunction with pyrazinamide (PZA) produced a significant reduction in intracellular M. tb burden. Treatment groups that received everolimus alone in either 1 nM or 2 nM doses experienced a significant reduction in oxidative stress. Additionally, samples treated with 2 nM everolimus alone were observed to have significantly higher levels of autophagy and mTOR inhibition as well. Results from this study indicate that everolimus is efficacious in controlling M. tb infection in the granulomas and has additive effects when combined with the anti-TB drugs, isoniazid and pyrazinamide. This study has shown that everolimus is a promising host-directed therapeutic in the context of in vitro granuloma M. tb infection. Further study is warranted to better characterize these effects. View Full-Text
Keywords: Mycobacterium tuberculosis; Host-Directed therapy; Everolimus; mTOR; Autophagy Mycobacterium tuberculosis; Host-Directed therapy; Everolimus; mTOR; Autophagy
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Ashley, D.; Hernandez, J.; Cao, R.; To, K.; Yegiazaryan, A.; Abrahem, R.; Nguyen, T.; Owens, J.; Lambros, M.; Subbian, S.; Venketaraman, V. Antimycobacterial Effects of Everolimus in a Human Granuloma Model. J. Clin. Med. 2020, 9, 2043.

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