|Systematic (IUPAC) name|
|Legal status||POM (UK) ℞-only (US)|
|Bioavailability||84% to 88% (est.)|
|Half-life||5 to 6 hours|
|ATC code||A07 J01|
|Mol. mass||581.574 g/mol|
|Melt. point||12 °C (54 °F)|
| (what is this?)
Streptomycin is an antibiotic (antimycobacterial) drug, the first of a class of drugs called aminoglycosides to be discovered, and it was the first antibiotic remedy for tuberculosis. It is derived from the actinobacterium Streptomyces griseus. Streptomycin is a bactericidal antibiotic. Streptomycin cannot be given orally, but must be administered by regular intramuscular injections. Adverse effects of this medicine are ototoxicity, nephrotoxicity, fetal auditory toxicity, and neuromuscular paralysis.
Mechanism of action 
Streptomycin is a protein synthesis inhibitor. It binds to the small 16S rRNA of the 30S subunit of the bacterial ribosome, interfering with the binding of formyl-methionyl-tRNA to the 30S subunit. This leads to codon misreading, eventual inhibition of protein synthesis and ultimately death of microbial cells through mechanisms that are still not understood. Speculation on this mechanism indicates that the binding of the molecule to the 30S subunit interferes with 50S subunit association with the mRNA strand. This results in an unstable ribosomal-mRNA complex, leading to a frameshift mutation and defective protein synthesis; leading to cell death. Humans have structurally different ribosomes from bacteria, thereby allowing the selectivity of this antibiotic for bacteria. At low concentrations, however, Streptomycin only inhibits growth of the bacteria by inducing prokaryotic ribosomes to misread mRNA. 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 graduate student, in the laboratory of Selman Abraham Waksman at Rutgers University. Dr. Waksman and his laboratory staff discovered several antibiotics, including actinomycin, 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 that could be used to cure the disease tuberculosis (TB). Early production of the drug was dominated by Merck & Co. under George W. Merck.
The first randomized trial of streptomycin against pulmonary tuberculosis was carried out in 1946–1947 by the MRC Tuberculosis Research Unit under the chairmanship of Sir Geoffrey Marshall (1887–1982). The trial was both double-blind and placebo-controlled. It is widely accepted to have been the first randomised curative trial.
Treatment of diseases 
- Infective endocarditis caused by enterococcus when the organism is not sensitive to Gentamicin
- Tuberculosis in combination with other anti-TB drugs. It is not the first-line treatment, except in medically under-served populations where the cost of more expensive treatments is prohibitive.
- Plague (Yersinia pestis) has historically been treated with it as the first-line treatment. It is approved for this purpose by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration.
- In veterinary medicine, streptomycin is the first-line antibiotic for use against gram negative bacteria in large animals (horses, cattle, sheep, etc.). It is commonly combined with procaine penicillin for intramuscular injection.
Pesticide and fungicide 
Streptomycin also is used as a pesticide, to combat the growth of bacteria, fungi, and algae. Streptomycin controls bacterial and fungal diseases of certain fruit, vegetables, seed, and ornamental crops, and it controls algae in ornamental ponds and aquaria. 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..
Cell culture 
Streptomycin, in combination with penicillin, is used in a standard antibiotic cocktail to prevent bacterial infection in cell culture.
Side Effects of Use 
Fever and rashes result from persistent use. The Vestibular portion of cranial nerve VIII (the vestibulococlear nerve) can be affected, resulting in tinitus, vertigo and ataxia. It can also lead to nephrotoxicity.
See also 
- Philip D'Arcy Hart - The British medical researcher and pioneer in tuberculosis treatment in the early twentieth century.
- "Taking Streptomycin during pregnancy and breastfeeding". Drug Safety Site. 2006. Retrieved 2010-05-25.
- Zhu M, Burman WJ, Jaresko GS, Berning SE, Jelliffe RW, Peloquin CA. (October 2001). "Population pharmacokinetics of intravenous and intramuscular streptomycin in patients with tuberculosis". Pharmacotherapy 21 (9): 1037–1045. doi:10.1592/phco.21.13.1037.34625. PMID 11560193. Retrieved 2010-05-25.
- Singh B, Mitchison DA (16 January 1954). "Bactericidal Activity of Streptomycin and Isoniazid Against Tubercle Bacilli". British Medical Journal 1 (4854): 130–132. doi:10.1136/bmj.1.4854.130. PMC 2084433. PMID 13106497.
- Sharma D, Cukras AR, Rogers EJ, Southworth DR, Green R (7 December 2007). "Mutational analysis of S12 protein and implications for the accuracy of decoding by the ribosome". Journal of Molecular Biology. PMID 17967466.
- Raymon, Lionel P. (2011). COMLEX Level 1 Pharmacology Lecture Notes. Miami, FL: Kaplan, Inc. p. 181. CM4024K.
- Voet, Donald & Voet, Judith G. (2004). Biochemistry (3rd ed.). John Wiley & Sons. p. 1341. ISBN 0-471-19350-X.
- Jan-Thorsten Schantz; Kee-Woei Ng (2004). A manual for primary human cell culture. World Scientific. p. 89.
- Comroe JH Jr (1978). "Pay dirt: the story of streptomycin. Part I: from Waksman to Waksman". American Review of Respiratory Disease 117 (4): 773–781. PMID 417651.
- Metcalfe NH (February 2011). "Sir Geoffrey Marshall (1887-1982): respiratory physician, catalyst for anaesthesia development, doctor to both Prime Minster and King, and World War I Barge Commander". J Med Biogr 19 (1): 10–4. doi:10.1258/jmb.2010.010019. PMID 21350072.
- D'Arcy Hart P (August 1999). "A change in scientific approach: from alternation to randomised allocation in clinical trials in the 1940s". British Medical Journal 319 (7209): 572–3. PMC 1116443. PMID 10463905.
Further reading 
- "Notebooks Shed Light on an Antibiotic’s Contested Discovery," New York Times, June 12, 2012, by Peter Pringle
- Streptomycin bound to proteins in the PDB
- Kingston, William (2004). "Streptomycin, Schatz v. Waksman, and the Balance of Credit for Discovery". Journal of the History of Medicine and Allied Sciences 59 (3): 441–462. doi:10.1093/jhmas/jrh091. PMID 15270337
- Mistiaen, Veronique (2 November 2002). "Time, and the great healer". The Guardian. The history behind the discovery of streptomycin.
- EPA R.E.D. Facts sheet on use of streptomycin as a pesticide.