Repurposing auranofin as an intestinal decolonizing agent for vancomycin-resistant enterococci
Abutaleb, Nader S.
Elmagarmid, Khalifa A.
Seleem, Mohamed N.
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Multidrug-resistant enterococcal pathogens, especially vancomycin-resistant enterococci (VRE), are among the pathogens that require new antibiotic innovation. The colonization of the gut represents a major pathway by which VRE can cause infection and spread to other patients. In the current study, auranofin (FDA-Approved rheumatoid arthritis drug) is evaluated for its potential use as a decolonizing agent for VRE. Auranofin was found to exert potent antimicrobial activity against a wide range of enterococcal clinical isolates with a minimum inhibitory concentration of 1 μg/mL. No resistant mutants could be developed against auranofin over the course of 14 passages. Auranofin was also found to exert potent anti-biofilm activity against VRE. Auranofin was superior to linezolid, the drug of choice for VRE infection treatment, in the in vivo mouse model. Auranofin significantly reduced the VRE burden in feces, cecum, and ileum contents after 8 days of treatment. Accordingly, this study provides valuable evidence that auranofin has significant promise as a novel gastrointestinal decolonizing agent for VRE.