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Antimicrobial susceptibility of Enterococcus strains used in clinical practice as probiotics

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Journal of Infection and Chemotherapy


The aim of this study was to evaluate the antimicrobial susceptibilities of probiotic strains that are suggested to be effective for preventing antibiotics-associated diarrhea (AAD). The minimum inhibitory concentrations (MICs) of 17 antibiotics against probiotic strains were tested by the agar plate dilution method or broth microdilution method. In all, eight probiotic strains containing Enterococcus faecalis, Bifidobacterium spp., Clostridium butyricum, and Lactobacillus acidophilus were tested. Although the MIC range was wide, from less than 0.0625 to more than 1,024 μg/ml, the MICs of 11 beta-lactams were high for three of four enterococci, with a range of 32 to more than 1,024 μg/ml. In contrast, fluoroquinolones and vancomycin showed potent activities against all enterococci, of which MICs were 0.25–8 μg/ml. Two Bifidobacterium strains and one Lactobacillus strain showed low MICs against many of the beta-lactams, fluoroquinolones, macrolides, and vancomycin, with MICs of 8 μg/ml or less. Fosfomycin showed generally mild activity against enterococci (MIC, 8–32 μg/ml) and anaerobic strains (MIC, 32 to >1,024 μg/ml), respectively. The probiotics strains with high MIC values may survive in the intestinal tract, even if the patient was concomitantly using the antibiotics in clinical practice. Therefore, our results suggest that adequate combinations of probiotics strains and antibiotics should be important for preventing AAD. Further study is needed to determine the efficacy of probiotics in clinical practice.

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We appreciate Hideyuki Sasaoka and Takahiro Morishita (Department of Microbiology, Bunkyo Gakuin University), and Toshie Fukui (Department of Microbiology, Tokyo Medical University) for their helpful expertise in our experiments.

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Correspondence to Tetsuya Matsumoto.

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Yamaguchi, T., Miura, Y. & Matsumoto, T. Antimicrobial susceptibility of Enterococcus strains used in clinical practice as probiotics. J Infect Chemother 19, 1109–1115 (2013).

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