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Mycobacterium avium (M. avium), a type of nontuberculous mycobacteria (NTM), poses a risk for pulmonary infections and disseminated infections in immunocompromised individuals. Conventional treatment consists of a 12-month regimen of the first-line antibiotics rifampicin and azithromycin. However, the treatment duration and low antibiotic tolerability present challenges in the treatment of M. avium infection. Furthermore, the emergence of multidrug-resistant mycobacterium strains prompts a need for novel treatments against M. avium infection. This study aims to test the efficacy of a novel antimicrobial peptide, cyclic [R4W4], alongside the first-line antibiotics azithromycin and rifampicin in reducing M. avium survival. Colony-forming unit (CFU) counts were assessed after treating M. avium cultures with varying concentrations of cyclic [R4W4] alone or in conjunction with azithromycin or rifampicin 3 h and 4 days post-treatment. M. avium growth was significantly reduced 4 days after cyclic [R4W4] single treatment. Additionally, cyclic [R4W4]–azithromycin and cyclic [R4W4]–rifampicin combination treatments at specific concentrations significantly reduced M. avium survival 3 h and 4 days post-treatment compared with single antibiotic treatment alone. These findings demonstrate cyclic [R4W4] as a potent treatment method against M. avium and provide insight into novel therapeutic approaches against mycobacterium infections.


This article was originally published in Pathogens, volume 12, in 2023.


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