Host cell environments and antibiotic efficacy in tuberculosis

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The aetiologic agent of tuberculosis (TB), Mycobacterium tuberculosis (Mtb), can survive, persist, and proliferate in a variety of heterogeneous subcellular compartments. Therefore, TB chemotherapy requires antibiotics crossing multiple biological membranes to reach distinct subcellular compartments and target these bacterial populations. These compartments are also dynamic, and our understanding
of intracellular pharmacokinetics (PK) often represents a challenge for antitubercular drug development. In recent years, the development of high-resolution imaging approaches in the context of host–pathogen interactions has revealed the intracellular distribution of antibiotics at a new level, yielding discoveries with important clinical implications. In this review, we describe the current knowledge regarding cellular PK of antibiotics and the complexity of drug distribution within the context of TB. We also discuss the recent advances in quantitative imaging
and highlight their applications for drug development in the context of how intracellular environments and microbial localisation affect TB treatment efficacy.

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