The quinolone antibiotics arose in the early 1960s, with the first examples possessing a narrow-spectrum of activity with unfavorable pharmacokinetic properties. Over time, the development of new quinolone antibiotics has led to improved analogues with an expanded spectrum and high efficacy. Nowadays, quinolones are widely used for treating a variety of infections. Quinolones are broad-spectrum antibiotics that are active against both Gram-positive and Gram-negative bacteria, including mycobacteria, and anaerobes. They exert their actions by inhibiting bacterial nucleic acid synthesis through disrupting the enzymes topoisomerase IV and DNA gyrase, and by causing breakage of bacterial chromosomes. However, bacteria have acquired resistance to quinolones, similar to other antibacterial agents, due to the overuse of these drugs. Mechanisms contributing to quinolone resistance are mediated by chromosomal mutations and/or plasmid gene uptake that alter the topoisomerase targets, modify the quinolone, and/or reduce drug accumulation by either decreased uptake or increased efflux. This review discusses the development of this class of antibiotics in terms of potency, pharmacokinetics and toxicity, along with the resistance mechanisms which reduce the quinolones' activity against pathogens. Potential strategies for future generations of quinolone antibiotics with enhanced activity against resistant strains are suggested.
- This article is part of the themed collection: Antimicrobial Resistance