Listeria monocytogenes endocarditis: case report, review of the literature, and laboratory evaluation of potential novel antibiotic synergies

Monika Kumaraswamy, Carter Do, George Sakoulas, Poochit Nonejuie, Guan Woei Tseng, Helen King, Joshua Fierer, Joe Pogliano, Victor Nizet

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

14 Scopus citations


Endocarditis is a rare but serious manifestation of Listeria monocytogenes (LM). However, the optimal treatment strategy for LM endocarditis has yet to be established. Current antibiotic strategies for listeriosis include penicillin G or ampicillin (AMP) monotherapy, or AMP + gentamicin combination therapy which is often favored for endocarditis. The primary objective of our investigation was to assess the utility of AMP + ceftriaxone (CRO) and AMP + daptomycin (DAP) against LM, modeling less nephrotoxic antibiotic combinations traditionally used to manage resistant enterococcal endocarditis. Here we report a case of LM endocarditis, review the world literature, and evaluate alternative treatment strategies for listeriosis utilizing in vitro and ex vivo studies. The combination of AMP + CRO and AMP + DAP were each noted to have synergistic activity against a LM endocarditis isolate. Additionally, co-incubation of the isolate with sub-lethal concentrations of antibiotics (AMP, CRO, DAP, AMP + CRO or AMP + DAP) sensitized the bacterium to whole blood killing while pretreatment with CRO and DAP (at 1/4 MIC) sensitized the bacterium to neutrophil killing. However, these effects did not reflect potentiation of antibiotic activity to human cathelicidin peptide LL-37, which is abundant in neutrophils and highly active against LM. Interestingly, AMP pretreatment of the LM endocarditis isolate resulted in increased DAP binding to the bacterium when assessed by fluorescence microscopy. These in vitro and ex vivo studies suggest further investigation of combination therapy using AMP + CRO or AMP + DAP as an alternative treatment for LM infection is warranted.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)468-478
Number of pages11
JournalInternational Journal of Antimicrobial Agents
Issue number3
StatePublished - Mar 2018


  • Antibiotic synergy
  • Endocarditis
  • Listeria monocytogenes
  • Literature review
  • Treatment

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Microbiology (medical)
  • Infectious Diseases
  • Pharmacology (medical)


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