Pharmacokinetics and Efficacy of the Benzothiazinone BTZ-043 against Tuberculous Mycobacteria inside Granulomas in the Guinea Pig Model

Tuberculosis (TB), caused by Mycobacterium tuberculosis, is the world’s leading cause of mortality from a single bacterial pathogen. With increasing frequency, emergence of drug-resistant mycobacteria leads to failures of standard TB treatment regimens. Therefore, new anti-TB drugs are urgently required. BTZ-043 belongs to a novel class of nitrobenzothiazinones, which inhibit mycobacterial cell wall formation by covalent binding of an essential cysteine in the catalytic pocket of decaprenylphosphoryl-β-d-ribose oxidase (DprE1). Thus, the compound blocks the formation of decaprenylphosphoryl-β-d-arabinose, a precursor for the synthesis of arabinans. An excellent in vitro efficacy against M. tuberculosis has been demonstrated. Guinea pigs are an important small-animal model to study anti-TB drugs, as they are naturally susceptible to M. tuberculosis and develop human-like granulomas after infection. In the current study, dose-finding experiments were conducted to establish the appropriate oral dose of BTZ-043 for the guinea pig. Subsequently, it could be shown that the active compound was present at high concentrations in Mycobacterium bovis BCG-induced granulomas. To evaluate its therapeutic effect, guinea pigs were subcutaneously infected with virulent M. tuberculosis and treated with BTZ-043 for 4 weeks. BTZ-043-treated guinea pigs had reduced and less necrotic granulomas than vehicle-treated controls. In comparison to the vehicle controls a highly significant reduction of the bacterial burden was observed after BTZ-043 treatment at the site of infection and in the draining lymph node and spleen. Together, these findings indicate that BTZ-043 holds great promise as a new antimycobacterial drug.



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