Auranofin exerts antibacterial activity against Neisseria gonorrhoeae in a female mouse model of genital tract infection
Neisseria gonorrhoeae has been classified by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention as an urgent threat due to the rapid development of antibiotic resistance to currently available antibiotics. Therefore, there is an urgent need to find new antibiotics to treat gonococcal infections. In our previous study, the gold-containing drug auranofin demonstrated potent in vitro activity against clinical isolates of N. gonorrhoeae, including multidrug-resistant strains. Therefore, the aim of this study was to investigate the in vivo activity of auranofin against N. gonorrhoeae using a murine model of vaginal infection. A significant reduction in N. gonorrhoeae recovered from the vagina was observed for infected mice treated with auranofin compared to the vehicle over the course of treatment. Relative to the vehicle, after three and five days of treatment with auranofin, a 1.04 (91%) and 1.40 (96%) average log(10)-reduction of recovered N. gonorrhoeae was observed. In conclusion, auranofin has the potential to be further investigated as a novel, safe anti-gonococcal agent to help meet the urgent need for new antimicrobial agents for N. gonorrhoeae infection.