Recent studies have suggested that intracellular Wolbachia spp. endobacteria are necessary for the reproduction and survival of filarial nematodes. The effects of antibiotics that are active against related bacteria on adult worms and microfilariae (Mf) of Brugia malayi in vitro were investigated. Antibiotics tested were doxycycline (Doxy), tetracycline (Tet), rifampicin (Rif), azithromycin (Azith), and chloramphenicol (Chlor). Doxy, Tet, Rif, and Azith reduced release of Mf by adult female worms. The minimum effective concentrations that reduced Mf release by 50% were 5 μg/ml for Doxy, 20 μg/ml for Tet, 40 μg/ml for Rif, and 100 μg/ml for Azith. The same drugs (at higher concentrations) killed adult worms and Mf. Embryograms showed that Tets blocked embryogenesis in female worms. Electron microscopy (EM) showed that the Tets, Rif, and Azith cleared Wolbachia spp. from adult worms and damaged developing embryos. These studies show that antibiotics active against Rickettsiaceae affect adult B. malayi worms and Mf in vitro. Additional studies will be needed to elucidate the mechanisms of action of these antibiotics on Wolbachia and filarial worms.

You do not currently have access to this content.