table of contents table of contents

Aminoglycosides are a group of antibiotics that are effective against certain types …

Home » Biology Articles » Molecular Biology » Aminoglycoside » Neomycin

- Aminoglycoside

Neomycin is an aminoglycoside antibiotic that is found in many topical medications such as creams, ointments and eyedrops.


Neomycin is overwhelmingly used as a topical preparation. It can also be given orally, where it is usually combined with other antibiotics. Neomycin is not absorbed from the gastrointestinal tract, and has been used as a preventative measure for hepatic encephalopathy and hypercholesterolemia. By killing bacteria in the intestinal tract, it keeps ammonia levels low and prevents hepatic encephalopathy, especially prior to GI surgery. It is not given intravenously, as neomycin is extremely nephrotoxic (causes kidney damage), especially compared to other aminoglycosides. The exception to this, is when it is included in some vaccines as a preservative, but in very small quantities -typically 0.025 mg per dose


Similar to other aminoglycosides, neomycin has excellent activity against Gram negative bacteria, and has partial activity against Gram positive bacteria. It is relatively toxic to humans, and some people have allergic reactions to it. See: Hypersensitivity.Neomycin is used in the laboratory on agar plates to grow mutant forms of bacteria that carry genes for resistance to neomycin. The resistant genes to neomycin are found within the plasmid of the bacteria; which may or may not be incorporated into the bacteria's circular chromosome.


Neomycin was discovered in 1949 by the microbiologist Selman Waksman and his student Hubert Lechevalier. It is produced naturally by the bacterium Streptomyces fradiae

rating: 3.78 from 27 votes | updated on: 24 Feb 2008 | views: 71428 |

Rate article: