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Volume 25, Number 7—July 2019
Etymologia

Etymologia: Carbapenem

Ronnie HenryComments to Author 

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Carbapenem [kahr″bə-pen′əm]

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A class of broad-spectrum β-lactam antibiotics, structurally similar to penicillins, with the substitution of a carbon atom (carba-) for a sulfur atom (Figure). This substitution creates a double bond on the pentane ring, which becomes a pentene ring (-penem).

The first carbapenem, thienamycin (theion [“sulfur”] + enamine [an unsaturated compound that forms the backbone of the molecule] + -mycin [suffix for drugs produced by Streptomyces spp.]), was discovered in 1976 in culture broths of the newly recognized species Streptomyces cattleya. Thienamycin rapidly decomposes in the presence of water, which limits its clinical utility.

The first carbapenem approved for use in the United States was imipenem, the stable N-formimidoyl derivative of thienamycin, in 1985. Resistance to imipenem, encoded on a mobile genetic element, was first identified in Pseudomonas aeruginosa in Japan in 1991, and carbapenemase-producing organisms have since spread globally.

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References

  1. Kahan  JS, Kahan  FM, Goegelman  R, Currie  SA, Jackson  M, Stapley  EO, et al. Thienamycin, a new beta-lactam antibiotic. I. Discovery, taxonomy, isolation and physical properties. J Antibiot (Tokyo). 1979;32:112. DOIPubMed
  2. Kesado  T, Hashizume  T, Asahi  Y. Antibacterial activities of a new stabilized thienamycin, N-formimidoyl thienamycin, in comparison with other antibiotics. Antimicrob Agents Chemother. 1980;17:9127. DOIPubMed
  3. Meletis  G. Carbapenem resistance: overview of the problem and future perspectives. Ther Adv Infect Dis. 2016;3:1521. DOIPubMed

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Figure

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Cite This Article

DOI: 10.3201/eid2507.et2507

Original Publication Date: 5/14/2019

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Table of Contents – Volume 25, Number 7—July 2019

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Ronnie Henry, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 1600 Clifton Rd NE, Mailstop E28, Atlanta, GA 30329-4027, USA

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Page created: June 17, 2019
Page updated: June 17, 2019
Page reviewed: June 17, 2019
The conclusions, findings, and opinions expressed by authors contributing to this journal do not necessarily reflect the official position of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, the Public Health Service, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, or the authors' affiliated institutions. Use of trade names is for identification only and does not imply endorsement by any of the groups named above.
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