The action of ciprofloxacin and norfloxacin on two strains of was studied by diverse methods including electronmicroscopy, viable counting and continuous turbidimetric monitoring. During the first few hours of exposure to inhibitory concentrations of the drugs, the opacity of bacterial cultures continued to increase for a period that was inversely proportional to the drug concentration. This change corresponded to the appearance of filamentous bacteria, swollen forms and some lysis. There was subsequently a gradual drop in opacity during which extensive lysis occurred. As judged by viable counts of bacteria washed free of drug, cell death occurred within 30 min of first exposure to the drugs and continued over a 3-h period. Ultrastructure studies demonstrated that lysis was preceded by the formation of vacuoles, predominantly at the poles of the cells. At these sites, breaks in the cell walls eventually occurred, resulting in extrusion of the cytoplasmic contents.


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