Effect of in vivo neutralisation of Tumor Necrosis Factor alpha on the efficacy of antibiotic treatment in systemic Salmonella enterica infections.
Immunity can co-operate with antibiotics, but can also antagonize drug efficacy by segregating the bacteria to areas of the body that are less accessible to antimicrobials, and by selecting for subpopulations with low division rates that are often difficult to eradicate. We studied the effect of an anti-inflammatory/immunosuppressive anti-TNFα treatment, which accelerates bacterial growth in the tissues and inhibits or reverses the formation of granulomas, on the efficacy of ampicillin and ciprofloxacin during a systemic Salmonella enterica infection of the mouse. The anti-TNFα treatment neither precluded not enhanced the efficacy of antibiotic treatment. However, the anti-TNFα treatment rendered the animals susceptible to the rapid relapse of the infection seen after cessation of the antibiotic treatment. Reactivation of an established infection, due to late administration of anti-TNFα antibodies, could be successfully controlled by antibiotics, but full clearance of the bacterial load from the tissues was not achieved. We conclude that the lack of TNFα does not preclude the efficacy of antibiotic treatment and must be monitored with care due to post-treatment relapses. Combinations of anti-cytokine compounds and antibiotic molecules may not be the best way to treat persistent infections with intracellular bacteria like Salmonella.