In vitro antagonism of beta-lactam antibiotics by cefoxitin

C. C. Sanders, W. E. Sanders, R. V. Goering

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We assessed the extent and mechanisms of antagonism of beta-lactam antibiotics by cefoxitin. In tests with 41 gram-negative isolates, cefoxitin antagonized cephalothin, cefamandole, cefsulodin, cefotazime, moxalactam, ampicillin, carbenicillin, piperacillin, mezlocillin, and azlocillin, but not caphalexin, mecillinam, or N-formimidoyl thienamycin. The extent of antagonism varied with the betalactam and genus studied. However, antagonism occurred most often with strains possessing inducible cephalosporinases. Antagonism of cephalothin and cafamandole correlated closely with the induction of beta-lactamases capable of inactivating these drugs. Although antagonism of the remaining drugs occurred more often with strains possessing inducible beta-lactamases, these enzymes did not inactivate the drugs. Morphological studies revealed that cefoxitin inhibited filamentation and lysis produced by various beta-lactam drugs. Results of this investigation suggest that cefoxitin antagonizes beta-lactams via (i) induction of drug-inactivating beta-lactamases, and (ii) the induction of beta-lactamases that cannot inactivate the drug but serve as barriers against access to target proteins. This barrier appears most efficient for drugs that bind to penicillin-binding proteins 1 and 3.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)968-975
Number of pages8
JournalAntimicrobial agents and chemotherapy
Issue number6
StatePublished - 1982

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Pharmacology
  • Pharmacology (medical)
  • Infectious Diseases


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