Streptomycin is an
An antibiotic is a type of antimicrobial substance active against bacteria. It is the most important type of antibacterial agent for fighting bacterial infections, and antibiotic medications are widely used in the treatment and prevention ...
medication used to treat a number of bacterial infections,
[ including ] tuberculosis
Tuberculosis (TB) is an infectious disease usually caused by ''Mycobacterium tuberculosis'' (MTB) bacteria. Tuberculosis generally affects the lungs, but it can also affect other parts of the body. Most infections show no symptoms, in w ..., ''Mycobacterium avium'' complex, endocarditis
Endocarditis is an inflammation of the inner layer of the heart, the endocardium. It usually involves the heart valves. Other structures that may be involved include the interventricular septum, the chordae tendineae, the mural endocardium, or ..., brucellosis
Brucellosis is a highly contagious zoonosis caused by ingestion of unpasteurized milk or undercooked meat from infected animals, or close contact with their secretions. It is also known as undulant fever, Malta fever, and Mediterranean fever.
Th ..., ''Burkholderia'' infection, plague, tularemia
Tularemia, also known as rabbit fever, is an infectious disease caused by the bacterium '' Francisella tularensis''. Symptoms may include fever, skin ulcers, and enlarged lymph nodes. Occasionally, a form that results in pneumonia or a throat i ..., and rat bite fever. [ For active tuberculosis it is often given together with ] isoniazid
Isoniazid, also known as isonicotinic acid hydrazide (INH), is an antibiotic used for the treatment of tuberculosis. For active tuberculosis it is often used together with rifampicin, pyrazinamide, and either streptomycin or ethambutol. For la ..., rifampicin, and pyrazinamide. It is administered by injection into a vein or muscle
Skeletal muscles (commonly referred to as muscles) are organs of the vertebrate muscular system and typically are attached by tendons to bones of a skeleton. The muscle cells of skeletal muscles are much longer than in the other types of mus ....
Common side effects include vertigo
Vertigo is a condition where a person has the sensation of movement or of surrounding objects moving when they are not. Often it feels like a spinning or swaying movement. This may be associated with nausea, vomiting, sweating, or difficulties w ..., vomiting, numbness of the face, fever, and rash. [ Use during ] pregnancy
Pregnancy is the time during which one or more offspring develops ( gestates) inside a woman's uterus (womb). A multiple pregnancy involves more than one offspring, such as with twins.
Pregnancy usually occurs by sexual intercourse, but ca ... may result in permanent deafness
Deafness has varying definitions in cultural and medical contexts. In medical contexts, the meaning of deafness is hearing loss that precludes a person from understanding spoken language, an audiological condition. In this context it is written ... in the developing baby. [ Use appears to be safe while ] breastfeeding
Breastfeeding, or nursing, is the process by which human breast milk is fed to a child. Breast milk may be from the breast, or may be expressed by hand or pumped and fed to the infant. The World Health Organization (WHO) recommends that brea .... [ It is not recommended in people with ] myasthenia gravis
Myasthenia gravis (MG) is a long-term neuromuscular junction disease that leads to varying degrees of skeletal muscle weakness. The most commonly affected muscles are those of the eyes, face, and swallowing. It can result in double vision, dro ... or other neuromuscular disorders
A neuromuscular disease is any disease affecting the peripheral nervous system (PNS), the neuromuscular junction, or skeletal muscle, all of which are components of the motor unit. Damage to any of these structures can cause muscle atrophy and wea .... [ Streptomycin is an ] aminoglycoside
Aminoglycoside is a medicinal and bacteriologic category of traditional Gram-negative antibacterial medications that inhibit protein synthesis and contain as a portion of the molecule an amino-modified glycoside (sugar). The term can also refer .... [ It works by blocking the ability of ] 30S ribosomal subunits
The prokaryotic small ribosomal subunit, or 30 S subunit, is the smaller subunit of the 70S ribosome found in prokaryotes. It is a complex of the 16S ribosomal RNA (rRNA) and 19 proteins. This complex is implicated in the binding of transfer RN ... to make proteins, which results in bacterial death. [
Albert Schatz first isolated streptomycin in 1943 from ''] Streptomyces griseus
''Streptomyces griseus'' is a species of bacteria in the genus ''Streptomyces'' commonly found in soil. A few strains have been also reported from deep-sea sediments. It is a Gram-positive bacterium with high GC content. Along with most other s ...''. It is on the World Health Organization's List of Essential Medicines
The WHO Model List of Essential Medicines (aka Essential Medicines List or EML), published by the World Health Organization (WHO), contains the medications considered to be most effective and safe to meet the most important needs in a health .... The World Health Organization classifies it as critically important for human medicine.
* Infective endocarditis: An infection of the endocardium caused by
''Enterococcus'' is a large genus of lactic acid bacteria of the phylum Bacillota. Enterococci are gram-positive cocci that often occur in pairs (diplococci) or short chains, and are difficult to distinguish from streptococci on physical charac ...; used when the organism is not sensitive to gentamicin
Gentamicin is an antibiotic used to treat several types of bacterial infections. This may include bone infections, endocarditis, pelvic inflammatory disease, meningitis, pneumonia, urinary tract infections, and sepsis among others. It is not ...
Tuberculosis (TB) is an infectious disease usually caused by ''Mycobacterium tuberculosis'' (MTB) bacteria. Tuberculosis generally affects the lungs, but it can also affect other parts of the body. Most infections show no symptoms, in w ...: Used in combination with other antibiotics. For active tuberculosis it is often given together with isoniazid
Isoniazid, also known as isonicotinic acid hydrazide (INH), is an antibiotic used for the treatment of tuberculosis. For active tuberculosis it is often used together with rifampicin, pyrazinamide, and either streptomycin or ethambutol. For la ..., rifampicin, and pyrazinamide. [ It is not the first-line treatment, except in medically under-served populations where the cost of more expensive treatments is prohibitive. It may be useful in cases where resistance to other drugs is identified.
* Plague (''] Yersinia pestis
''Yersinia pestis'' (''Y. pestis''; formerly '' Pasteurella pestis'') is a gram-negative, non-motile, coccobacillus bacterium without spores that is related to both '' Yersinia pseudotuberculosis'' and '' Yersinia enterocolitica''. It is a fac ...''): Has historically been used as the first-line treatment. However streptomycin is approved for this purpose only by the US Food and Drug Administration
The United States Food and Drug Administration (FDA or US FDA) is a federal agency of the Department of Health and Human Services. The FDA is responsible for protecting and promoting public health through the control and supervision of food ....
* In veterinary medicine
Veterinary medicine is the branch of medicine that deals with the prevention, management, diagnosis, and treatment of disease, disorder, and injury in animals. Along with this, it deals with animal rearing, husbandry, breeding, research on nutri ..., streptomycin is the first-line antibiotic for use against gram negative
The gram (originally gramme; SI unit symbol g) is a unit of mass in the International System of Units (SI) equal to one one thousandth of a kilogram.
Originally defined as of 1795 as "the absolute weight of a volume of pure water equal to th ... bacteria in large animals ( horse
The horse (''Equus ferus caballus'') is a domesticated, one-toed, hoofed mammal. It belongs to the taxonomic family Equidae and is one of two extant subspecies of ''Equus ferus''. The horse has evolved over the past 45 to 55 million y ...s, cattle
Cattle (''Bos taurus'') are large, domesticated, cloven-hooved, herbivores. They are a prominent modern member of the subfamily Bovinae and the most widespread species of the genus ''Bos''. Adult females are referred to as cows and adult mal ..., sheep
Sheep or domestic sheep (''Ovis aries'') are domesticated, ruminant mammals typically kept as livestock. Although the term ''sheep'' can apply to other species in the genus ''Ovis'', in everyday usage it almost always refers to domesticated s ..., etc.). It is commonly combined with procaine penicillin
Penicillins (P, PCN or PEN) are a group of β-lactam antibiotics originally obtained from '' Penicillium'' moulds, principally '' P. chrysogenum'' and '' P. rubens''. Most penicillins in clinical use are synthesised by P. chrysogenum usi ... for intramuscular injection.
Tularemia, also known as rabbit fever, is an infectious disease caused by the bacterium '' Francisella tularensis''. Symptoms may include fever, skin ulcers, and enlarged lymph nodes. Occasionally, a form that results in pneumonia or a throat i ... infections have been treated mostly with streptomycin.
Streptomycin is traditionally given intramuscularly, and in many nations is only licensed to be administered intramuscularly, though in some regions the drug may also be administered intravenous
Intravenous therapy (abbreviated as IV therapy) is a medical technique that administers fluids, medications and nutrients directly into a person's vein. The intravenous route of administration is commonly used for rehydration or to provide nutrie ...ly.
Streptomycin also is used as a pesticide, to combat the growth of bacteria beyond human applications. Streptomycin controls bacterial diseases of certain fruit, vegetables, seed, and ornamental crops. A major use is in the control of fireblight on apple and pear trees. As in medical applications, extensive use can be associated with the development of resistant strains. Streptomycin could potentially be used to control
Cyanobacteria (), also known as Cyanophyta, are a phylum of gram-negative bacteria that obtain energy via photosynthesis. The name ''cyanobacteria'' refers to their color (), which similarly forms the basis of cyanobacteria's common name, bl ...l blooms in ornamental ponds and aquaria. While some antibacterial antibiotics are inhibitory to certain eukaryotes, this seems not to be the case for streptomycin, especially in the case of anti-fungal activity.
Streptomycin, in combination with penicillin, is used in a standard antibiotic cocktail to prevent bacterial infection in cell culture.
When purifying protein from a biological extract, streptomycin sulfate is sometimes added as a means of removing nucleic acids. Since it binds to ribosomes and precipitates out of solution, it serves as a method for removing rRNA, mRNA, and even DNA if the extract is from a prokaryote.
The most concerning side effects, as with other
Aminoglycoside is a medicinal and bacteriologic category of traditional Gram-negative antibacterial medications that inhibit protein synthesis and contain as a portion of the molecule an amino-modified glycoside (sugar). The term can also refer ..., are kidney toxicity and ear toxicity. Transient or permanent deafness may result. The vestibular portion of cranial nerve VIII (the vestibulocochlear nerve) can be affected, resulting in tinnitus
Tinnitus is the perception of sound when no corresponding external sound is present. Nearly everyone experiences a faint "normal tinnitus" in a completely quiet room; but it is of concern only if it is bothersome, interferes with normal hearin ..., vertigo
Vertigo is a condition where a person has the sensation of movement or of surrounding objects moving when they are not. Often it feels like a spinning or swaying movement. This may be associated with nausea, vomiting, sweating, or difficulties w ..., ataxia
Ataxia is a neurological sign consisting of lack of voluntary coordination of muscle movements that can include gait abnormality, speech changes, and abnormalities in eye movements. Ataxia is a clinical manifestation indicating dysfunction of ..., kidney toxicity, and can potentially interfere with diagnosis of kidney malfunction.
Common side effects include vertigo
Vertigo is a condition where a person has the sensation of movement or of surrounding objects moving when they are not. Often it feels like a spinning or swaying movement. This may be associated with nausea, vomiting, sweating, or difficulties w ..., vomiting, numbness of the face, fever, and rash. Fever and rashes may result from persistent use.
Use is not recommended during pregnancy. [ Congenital deafness has been reported in children whose mothers received streptomycin during pregnancy.] Use appears to be okay while breastfeeding
Breastfeeding, or nursing, is the process by which human breast milk is fed to a child. Breast milk may be from the breast, or may be expressed by hand or pumped and fed to the infant. The World Health Organization (WHO) recommends that brea .... [
It is not recommended in people with ] myasthenia gravis
Myasthenia gravis (MG) is a long-term neuromuscular junction disease that leads to varying degrees of skeletal muscle weakness. The most commonly affected muscles are those of the eyes, face, and swallowing. It can result in double vision, dro .... [
Mechanism of action
Streptomycin functions as a protein synthesis inhibitor. It binds to the small 16S rRNA of the 30S ribosomal subunit irreversibly, interfering with the binding of
''N''-Formylmethionine (fMet, HCO-Met, For-Met) is a derivative of the amino acid methionine in which a formyl group has been added to the amino group. It is specifically used for initiation of protein synthesis from bacterial and organellar ge ... to the 30S subunit. This causes codon misreading, inhibition of protein synthesis, and ultimately death of the cell through mechanisms that are not well understood. Speculation indicates that the binding of the molecule to the 30S subunit interferes with 30S subunit association with the mRNA
In molecular biology, messenger ribonucleic acid (mRNA) is a single-stranded molecule of RNA that corresponds to the genetic sequence of a gene, and is read by a ribosome in the process of synthesizing a protein.
mRNA is created during th ... strand. This results in an unstable ribosomal-mRNA complex, leading to premature stopping of protein synthesis, leading to cell death. As human and bacteria both have ribosomes, streptomycin has significant side effects in humans. At low concentrations, however, streptomycin inhibits only bacterial growth.
Streptomycin is an antibiotic that inhibits both Gram-positive and Gram-negative bacteria, and is therefore a useful broad-spectrum antibiotic.
Streptomycin was first isolated on October 19, 1943, by Albert Schatz, a PhD student in the laboratory of Selman Abraham Waksman at
Rutgers University (; RU), officially Rutgers, The State University of New Jersey, is a public land-grant research university consisting of four campuses in New Jersey. Chartered in 1766, Rutgers was originally called Queen's College, and was ... in a research project funded by Merck and Co. Waksman and his laboratory staff discovered several antibiotics, including actinomycin
Dactinomycin, also known as actinomycin D, is a chemotherapy medication used to treat a number of types of cancer. This includes Wilms tumor, rhabdomyosarcoma, Ewing's sarcoma, trophoblastic neoplasm, testicular cancer, and certain types of ov ..., clavacin, streptothricin, streptomycin, grisein, neomycin, fradicin, candicidin, and candidin. Of these, streptomycin and neomycin found extensive application in the treatment of numerous infectious diseases. Streptomycin was the first antibiotic
An antibiotic is a type of antimicrobial substance active against bacteria. It is the most important type of antibacterial agent for fighting bacterial infections, and antibiotic medications are widely used in the treatment and prevention ... cure for tuberculosis
Tuberculosis (TB) is an infectious disease usually caused by ''Mycobacterium tuberculosis'' (MTB) bacteria. Tuberculosis generally affects the lungs, but it can also affect other parts of the body. Most infections show no symptoms, in w ... (TB). In 1952 Waksman was the recipient of the Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine
The Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine is awarded yearly by the Nobel Assembly at the Karolinska Institute for outstanding discoveries in physiology or medicine. The Nobel Prize is not a single prize, but five separate prizes that, accordi ... in recognition "for his discovery of streptomycin, the first antibiotic active against tuberculosis". Waksman was later accused of playing down the role of Schatz who did the work under his supervision, claiming that Elizabeth Bugie had a more important role in its development. Schatz sued both Dr. Waksman and the Rutgers Research and Endowment Foundation, wanting to be given credited as co-discover and receive the royalties for the streptomycin. By the end of the settlement, Waksman would receive a 10% royalty, while Schatz got 3% and compensation for his missed royalties. The rest of the lab shared the remaining 7% of the royalties, in which Bugie received 0.2%.
Bugie was pursuing a master's degree in Waksman's lab at Rutgers University at this time. Prior to this, she received her bachelor's degree in microbiology at New Jersey College for Women. Although Bugie was considered to be the second author on the ''Proceedings of the Society for Experimental Biology'' paper, she was not listed on the patent submission. Bugie's contributions to Wakeman's lab were great. In addition to her work on streptomycin, she also helped develop other antimicrobial substances, had two peer-reviewed publications, and researched the use of antimicrobals against plant pathogens, among several other important contributions to the scientific field, particularly in regard to microbiology.
The Rutgers team reported streptomycin in the medical literature in January 1944. Within months they began working with William Feldman and H. Corwin Hinshaw of the Mayo Clinic
The Mayo Clinic () is a nonprofit American academic medical center focused on integrated health care, education, and research. It employs over 4,500 physicians and scientists, along with another 58,400 administrative and allied health staff, ... with hopes of starting a human clinical trial of streptomycin in tuberculosis. The difficulty at first was even producing enough streptomycin to do a trial, because the research laboratory methods of creating small batches had not yet been translated to commercial large-batch production. They managed to do an animal study in a few guinea pigs with just 10 grams of the scarce drug, demonstrating survival. This was just enough evidence to get Merck & Co. to divert some resources from the young penicillin production program to start work toward streptomycin production.
At the end of World War II, the United States Army experimented with streptomycin to treat life-threatening infections at a military hospital in Battle Creek, Michigan. The first person who was treated with streptomycin did not survive; the second person survived but became blind as a side effect of the treatment. In March 1946, the third person— Robert J. Dole, later Majority Leader of the United States Senate and presidential nominee—experienced a rapid and robust recovery.
The first randomized trial of streptomycin against pulmonary tuberculosis was carried out in 1946 through 1948 by the MRC Tuberculosis Research Unit under the chairmanship of Geoffrey Marshall (1887–1982). The trial was neither double-blind
In a blind or blinded experiment, information which may influence the participants of the experiment is withheld until after the experiment is complete. Good blinding can reduce or eliminate experimental biases that arise from a participants' expec ... nor placebo-controlled. It is widely accepted to have been the first randomized curative trial.
Results showed efficacy against TB, albeit with minor toxicity and acquired bacterial resistance to the drug.
Because streptomycin was isolated from a microbe discovered on New Jersey soil, and because of its activity against tuberculosis and Gram negative organisms, and in recognition of both the microbe and the antibiotic in the history of New Jersey, ''S. griseus'' was nominated as the Official New Jersey state microbe. The draft legislation was submitted by Senator Sam Thompson (R-12) in May 2017 as bill S3190 and Assemblywoman Annette Quijano (D-20) in June 2017 as bill A31900. The bill was passed on 2018-01-08 The bill designates Streptomyces griseus as New Jersey State Microbe (New Jersey Senate Bill 3190 (2017). Passed in January 2018.
* Philip D'Arcy Hart – The British medical researcher and pioneer in tuberculosis treatment in the early twentieth century.
* . The history behind the discovery of streptomycin.
World Health Organization essential medicines
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