Airway infection leads to progressive damage of the lungs in cystic fibrosis and oxidative stress has been implicated in the etiology. Supplementation of antioxidant micronutrients (vitamin E, vitamin C, ß-carotene and selenium) or glutathione may therefore potentially help maintain an oxidant-antioxidant balance. Current literature suggests a relationship between oxidative status and lung function.
Although progress on biofilm research has been obtained during the past decades, the treatment of biofilm infections with antibiotics remains a riddle. The pharmacokinetic (PK) and pharmacodynamic (PD) profiles of an antimicrobial agent provide important information helping to establish an efficient dosing regimen and to minimize the development of antimicrobial tolerance and resistance in biofilm infections. Unfortunately, most previous PK/PD studies of antibiotics have been done on planktonic cells, and extrapolation of the results on biofilms is problematic as bacterial biofilms differ from planktonic grown cells in the growth rate, gene expression, and metabolism. Here, we set up several protocols for the studies of PK/PD of antibiotics in biofilm infections of P. aeruginosa in vitro and in vivo. It should be underlined that none of the protocols in biofilms have yet been certificated for clinical use or proved useful for guidance of antibiotic therapy.
Chronic Pseudomonas aeruginosa lung infection is the most severe complication in patients with cystic fibrosis (CF). The infection is characterized by the formation of biofilm surrounded by numerous polymorphonuclear leukocytes (PMNs) and strong O2 depletion in the endobronchial mucus. We have reported that O2 is mainly consumed by the activated PMNs, while O2 consumption by aerobic respiration is diminutive and nitrous oxide (N2O) is produced in infected CF sputum. This suggests that the reported growth rates of P. aeruginosa in lungs and sputum may result from anaerobic respiration using denitrification. The growth rate of P. aeruginosa achieved by denitrification at physiological levels (~400 ?M) of nitrate (NO(-) 3) is however, not known. Therefore, we have measured growth rates of anoxic cultures of PAO1 and clinical isolates (n = 12) in LB media supplemented with NO(-) 3 and found a significant increase of growth when supplementing PAO1 and clinical isolates with ?150 ?M NO(-) 3 and 100 ?M NO(-) 3, respectively. An essential contribution to growth by denitrification was demonstrated by the inability to establish a significantly increased growth rate by a denitrification deficient ?nirS-N mutant at <1 mM of NO(-) 3. Activation of denitrification could be achieved by supplementation with as little as 62.5 ?M of NO(-) 3 according to the significant production of N2O by the nitrous oxide reductase deficient ?nosZ mutant. Studies of the promoter activity, gene transcripts, and enzyme activity of the four N-oxide reductases in PAO1 (Nar, Nir, Nor, Nos) further verified the engagement of denitrification, showing a transient increase in activation and expression and rapid consumption of NO(-) 3 followed by a transient increase of NO(-) 2. Growth rates obtained by denitrification in this study were comparable to our reported growth rates in the majority of P. aeruginosa cells in CF lungs and sputum. Thus, we have demonstrated that denitrification is required for P. aeruginosa growth in infected endobronchial CF mucus.
The bactericidal effect of several major types of antibiotics has recently been demonstrated to be dependent on the formation of toxic amounts of hydroxyl radicals (OH) resulting from oxidative stress in metabolically active cells. Since killing by the antimicrobial peptide colistin does not require bacterial metabolic activity, we tested whether the bactericidal effect of colistin depends on the formation of OH. In Pseudomonas aeruginosa cultures, OH-mediated killing by ciprofloxacin was demonstrated by decreased bacterial survival and induction of 3-(p-hydroxyphenyl) fluorescein (HPF) fluorescence. OH-mediated killing by ciprofloxacin was further confirmed by rescue of cells and reduction of HPF fluorescence due to prevention of OH accumulation by scavenging with thiourea, by chelating with dipyridyl, by decreasing metabolism as well as by anoxic growth. In contrast, no formation of OH was seen in P. aeruginosa during killing by colistin, and prevention of OH accumulation could not rescue P. aeruginosa from killing by colistin. These results therefore demonstrate that the bactericidal activity of colistin on P. aeruginosa is not dependent on oxidative stress. In conclusion, antimicrobial peptides that do not rely on OH formation should be considered for treatment of Gram-negative bacteria growing at low oxygen tension such as in endobronchial mucus and paranasal sinuses in cystic fibrosis patients, in abscesses and in infectious biofilm.
Most of the research on bacterial pathogenesis has focused on acute infections, but much less is known about the pathogenesis of infections caused by bacteria that grow as aggregates in biofilms. These infections tend to be chronic as they resist innate and adaptive immune defence mechanisms as well as antibiotics, and the treatment of biofilm infections presents a considerable unmet clinical need. To date, there are no drugs that specifically target bacteria in biofilms; however, several approaches are in early-stage development. Here, we review current insights into biofilm physiology and pathology, and discuss how a deep insight into the physical and biological characteristics of biofilms can inform therapeutic strategies and molecular targets for the development of anti-biofilm drugs.
The dynamics of occurrence and the genetic basis of ciprofloxacin resistance were studied in a long-term evolution experiment (940 generations) in wild-type, reference strain (PAO1) and hypermutable (PAO?mutS and PAOMY-Mgm) P. aeruginosa populations continuously exposed to sub-MICs (1/4) of ciprofloxacin. A rapid occurrence of ciprofloxacin-resistant mutants (MIC of ?12 ?g/ml, representing 100 times the MIC of the original population) were observed in all ciprofloxacin-exposed lineages of PAO?mutS and PAOMY-Mgm populations after 100 and 170 generations, respectively, and in one of the PAO1 lineages after 240 generations. The genetic basis of resistance was mutations in gyrA (C248T and G259T) and gyrB (C1397A). Cross-resistance to beta-lactam antibiotics was observed in the bacterial populations that evolved during exposure to sublethal concentrations of ciprofloxacin. Our study shows that mutants with high-level ciprofloxacin resistance are selected in P. aeruginosa bacterial populations exposed to sub-MICs of ciprofloxacin. This can have implications for the long-term persistence of resistant bacteria and spread of antibiotic resistance by exposure of commensal bacterial flora to low antibiotic concentrations.
Bacterial respiratory infections are the main cause of morbidity and mortality in patients with cystic fibrosis (CF). Pseudomonas aeruginosa remains the main pathogen in adults, but other Gram-negative bacteria such as Achromobacter xylosoxidans and Stenotrophomonas maltophilia as well as nontuberculous mycobacteria have been shown to play an important role in the lung disease. The purpose of this review is to summarize the knowledge on disease and treatment of infection with CF-related pathogens.
Pseudomonas aeruginosa cells are present as biofilms in the paranasal sinuses and the lungs of chronically infected cystic fibrosis (CF) patients. Since different inflammatory responses and selective antibiotic pressures are acting in the sinuses compared with the lungs, we compared the adaptive profiles of mucoid and non-mucoid isolates from the two locations.
Regular moderate exercise has been suggested to exert anti-inflammatory effects and improve immune effector functions, resulting in reduced disease incidence and viral infection susceptibility. Whether regular exercise also affects bacterial infection susceptibility is unknown. The aim of this study was to investigate whether regular voluntary exercise wheel running prior to a pulmonary infection with bacteria (P. aeruginosa) affects lung bacteriology, sickness severity and phagocyte immune function in mice. Balb/c mice were randomly placed in a cage with or without a running wheel. After 28 days, mice were intranasally infected with P. aeruginosa. Our study showed that regular exercise resulted in a higher sickness severity score and bacterial (P. aeruginosa) loads in the lungs. The phagocytic capacity of monocytes and neutrophils from spleen and lungs was not affected. Although regular moderate exercise has many health benefits, healthy mice showed increased bacterial (P. aeruginosa) load and symptoms, after regular voluntary exercise, with perseverance of the phagocytic capacity of monocytes and neutrophils. Whether patients, suffering from bacterial infectious diseases, should be encouraged to engage in exercise and physical activities with caution requires further research.
Achromobacter xylosoxidans is an environmental opportunistic pathogen, which infects an increasing number of immunocompromised patients. In this study we combined genomic analysis of a clinical isolated A. xylosoxidans strain with phenotypic investigations of its important pathogenic features. We present a complete assembly of the genome of A. xylosoxidans NH44784-1996, an isolate from a cystic fibrosis patient obtained in 1996. The genome of A. xylosoxidans NH44784-1996 contains approximately 7 million base pairs with 6390 potential protein-coding sequences. We identified several features that render it an opportunistic human pathogen, We found genes involved in anaerobic growth and the pgaABCD operon encoding the biofilm adhesin poly-?-1,6-N-acetyl-D-glucosamin. Furthermore, the genome contains a range of antibiotic resistance genes coding efflux pump systems and antibiotic modifying enzymes. In vitro studies of A. xylosoxidans NH44784-1996 confirmed the genomic evidence for its ability to form biofilms, anaerobic growth via denitrification, and resistance to a broad range of antibiotics. Our investigation enables further studies of the functionality of important identified genes contributing to the pathogenicity of A. xylosoxidans and thereby improves our understanding and ability to treat this emerging pathogen.
Considerable evidence supports the presence of oxidative stress in cystic fibrosis (CF). The disease has long been associated with both increased production of reactive oxygen species and impaired antioxidant status, in particular during the chronic pulmonary infection with Pseudomonas aeruginosa, which is the main cause of morbidity and mortality in CF. Guinea pigs are unable to synthesize ascorbate (ASC) or vitamin C, a major antioxidant of the lung, and thus like human beings rely on its presence in the diet. On this basis, guinea pigs receiving ASC-deficient diet have been used as a model of oxidative stress. The aim of our study was to investigate the consequences of a 7-day biofilm-grown P. aeruginosa lung infection in 3-month-old guinea pigs receiving either ASC-sufficient or ASC-deficient diet for at least 2 months. The animals receiving ASC-deficient diet showed significantly higher mortality during infection and increased respiratory burst of peripheral polymorphonuclear neutrophils (PMNs) compared with the animals receiving ASC sufficient diet. The inflammatory response at the site of lung infection consisted of PMNs and mononuclear leucocytes (MN), and higher PMN/MN ratios were present in animals on ASC-deficient diet compared with animals on ASC sufficient diet. Measurements of the ASC levels in the lung were significantly decreased in infected compared with non-infected animals. Interestingly, the infection by itself decreased the antioxidant capacity of the plasma (measured as plasma oxidizability) more than the ASC-deficient diet, suggesting a high consumption of the antioxidants during infection. Our data show that poor antioxidant status exacerbates the outcome of biofilm-related infections.
The opportunistic pathogen Pseudomonas aeruginosa is a frequent colonizer of the airways of patients suffering from cystic fibrosis (CF). Depending on early treatment regimens, the colonization will, with high probability, develop into chronic infections sooner or later, and it is important to establish under which conditions the switch to chronic infection takes place. In association with a recently established sinus surgery treatment program for CF patients at the Copenhagen CF Center, colonization of the paranasal sinuses with P. aeruginosa has been investigated, paralleled by sampling of sputum from the same patients. On the basis of genotyping and phenotypic characterization including transcription profiling, the diversity of the P. aeruginosa populations in the sinuses and the lower airways was investigated and compared. The observations made from several children show that the paranasal sinuses constitute an important niche for the colonizing bacteria in many patients. The paranasal sinuses often harbor distinct bacterial subpopulations, and in the early colonization phases there seems to be a migration from the sinuses to the lower airways, suggesting that independent adaptation and evolution take place in the sinuses. Importantly, before the onset of chronic lung infection, lineages with mutations conferring a large fitness benefit in CF airways such as mucA and lasR as well as small colony variants and antibiotic-resistant clones are part of the sinus populations. Thus, the paranasal sinuses potentially constitute a protected niche of adapted clones of P. aeruginosa, which can intermittently seed the lungs and pave the way for subsequent chronic lung infections.
The time course of activity of colistin and imipenem against mucoid and nonmucoid Pseudomonas aeruginosa growing in a biofilm showed that compared with those for planktonic bacteria, the kinetics of colistin and imipenem retained the concentration- and time-dependent killing, respectively, but higher doses of antibiotics and longer dosing periods were required for biofilm eradication. Biofilms of mucoid P. aeruginosa were more difficult to eradicate than nonmucoid biofilms.
Infection by the opportunistic pathogen Pseudomonas aeruginosa is a leading cause of morbidity and mortality seen in cystic fibrosis (CF) patients. This is mainly due to the genotypic and phenotypic changes of the bacteria that cause conversion from a typical nonmucoid to a mucoid form in the CF lung. Mucoid conversion is indicative of overproduction of a capsule-like polysaccharide called alginate. The alginate-overproducing (Alg(+)) mucoid phenotype seen in the CF isolates is extremely unstable. Low oxygen tension growth of mucoid variants readily selects for nonmucoid variants. The switching off mechanism has been mapped to the algT/U locus, and the molecular basis for this conversion was partially attributed to mutations in the algT/U gene itself. To further characterize molecular changes resulting in the unstable phenotype, an isogenic PAO1 derivative that is constitutively Alg(+) due to the replacement of the mucA with mucA22 (PDO300) was used. The mucA22 allele is common in mucoid CF isolates. Thirty-four spontaneous nonmucoid variants, or sap (suppressor of alginate production) mutants, of PDO300 were isolated under low oxygen tension. About 40% of the sap mutants were rescued by a plasmid carrying algT/U (Group A). The remaining sap mutants were not (Group B). The members of Group B fall into two subsets: one similar to PAO1, and another comparable to PDO300. Sequence analysis of the algT/U and mucA genes in Group A shows that mucA22 is intact, whereas algT/U contains mutations. Genetic complementation and sequencing of one Group B sap mutant, sap22, revealed that the nonmucoid phenotype was due to the presence of a mutation in PA3257. PA3257 encodes a putative periplasmic protease. Mutation of PA3257 resulted in decreased algT/U expression. Thus, inhibition of algT/U is a primary mechanism for alginate synthesis suppression.
Laboratory evolution experiments have led to important findings relating organism adaptation and genomic evolution. However, continuous monitoring of long-term evolution has been lacking for natural systems, limiting our understanding of these processes in situ. Here we characterize the evolutionary dynamics of a lineage of a clinically important opportunistic bacterial pathogen, Pseudomonas aeruginosa, as it adapts to the airways of several individual cystic fibrosis patients over 200,000 bacterial generations, and provide estimates of mutation rates of bacteria in a natural environment. In contrast to predictions based on in vitro evolution experiments, we document limited diversification of the evolving lineage despite a highly structured and complex host environment. Notably, the lineage went through an initial period of rapid adaptation caused by a small number of mutations with pleiotropic effects, followed by a period of genetic drift with limited phenotypic change and a genomic signature of negative selection, suggesting that the evolving lineage has reached a major adaptive peak in the fitness landscape. This contrasts with previous findings of continued positive selection from long-term in vitro evolution experiments. The evolved phenotype of the infecting bacteria further suggests that the opportunistic pathogen has transitioned to become a primary pathogen for cystic fibrosis patients.
Bacteria survive in nature by forming biofilms on surfaces and probably most, if not all, bacteria (and fungi) are capable of forming biofilms. A biofilm is a structured consortium of bacteria embedded in a self-produced polymer matrix consisting of polysaccharide, protein and extracellular DNA. Bacterial biofilms are resistant to antibiotics, disinfectant chemicals and to phagocytosis and other components of the innate and adaptive inflammatory defense system of the body. It is known, for example, that persistence of staphylococcal infections related to foreign bodies is due to biofilm formation. Likewise, chronic Pseudomonas aeruginosa lung infections in cystic fibrosis patients are caused by biofilm growing mucoid strains. Gradients of nutrients and oxygen exist from the top to the bottom of biofilms and the bacterial cells located in nutrient poor areas have decreased metabolic activity and increased doubling times. These more or less dormant cells are therefore responsible for some of the tolerance to antibiotics. Biofilm growth is associated with an increased level of mutations. Bacteria in biofilms communicate by means of molecules, which activates certain genes responsible for production of virulence factors and, to some extent, biofilm structure. This phenomenon is called quorum sensing and depends upon the concentration of the quorum sensing molecules in a certain niche, which depends on the number of the bacteria. Biofilms can be prevented by antibiotic prophylaxis or early aggressive antibiotic therapy and they can be treated by chronic suppressive antibiotic therapy. Promising strategies may include the use of compounds which can dissolve the biofilm matrix and quorum sensing inhibitors, which increases biofilm susceptibility to antibiotics and phagocytosis.
Phenotypic and genotypic diversifications of Pseudomonas aeruginosa in the airways of patients with cystic fibrosis (CF) promote long-term survival of bacteria during chronic lung infection. Twelve clonally related, sequential mucoid and non-mucoid paired P. aeruginosa isolates obtained from three Danish CF patients were investigated. The in vitro biofilm formation capacity was studied under static and flow through conditions and the global gene expression profiles were investigated by Affymetrix GeneChip. Regulatory genes of alginate production and quorum sensing (QS) system were sequenced and measurements of the alginate production and the detection of the QS signal molecules were performed. Comparisons of mucoid and non-mucoid isolates from early and late stages of the infection showed that the mucoid phenotype maintained over a decade the capacity to form in vitro biofilm and showed an unaltered transcriptional profile, whereas substantial alterations in the transcriptional profiles and loss of the capacity to form in vitro biofilms were observed in corresponding isolates of the non-mucoid phenotype. The conserved gene expression pattern in the mucoid isolates vs the diversity of changes in non-mucoid isolates observed in this particular P. aeruginosa clone reflects different adaptation strategies used by these two phenotypes in the different niches of the CF lung environment.
Prevention and correction of oxidative DNA lesions in Pseudomonas aeruginosa is ensured by the DNA oxidative repair system (GO). Single inactivation of mutT, mutY and mutM involved in GO led to elevated mutation rates (MRs) that correlated to increased development of resistance to antibiotics. In this study, we constructed a double mutant in mutY and mutM (PAOMY-Mgm) and characterized the phenotype and the gene expression profile using microarray and RT-PCR. PAOMY-Mgm presented 28-fold increases in MR compared with wild-type reference strain PAO1. In comparison, the PAOMYgm (mutY) single mutant showed only a fivefold increase, whereas the single mutant PAOMMgm (mutM) showed a nonsignificant increase in MR compared with PAO1 and the single mutants. Mutations in the regulator nfxB leading to hyperexpression of MexCD-OprJ efflux pump were found as the mechanism of resistance to ciprofloxacin in the double mutant. A better fitness of the mutator compared with PAO1 was found in growth competition experiments in the presence of ciprofloxacin at concentrations just below minimal inhibitory concentration. Up-regulation of the antimutator gene pfpI, that has been shown to provide protection to oxidative stress, was found in PAOMY-Mgm compared with PAO1. In conclusion, we showed that MutY and MutM are cooperating in the GO of P. aeruginosa, and that oxidative DNA lesions might represent an oxidative stress for the bacteria.
The persistence of chronic Pseudomonas aeruginosa lung infections in cystic fibrosis (CF) patients is due to biofilm-growing mucoid (alginate-producing) strains. A biofilm is a structured consortium of bacteria, embedded in a self-produced polymer matrix consisting of polysaccharide, protein and DNA. In CF lungs, the polysaccharide alginate is the major part of the P. aeruginosa biofilm matrix. Bacterial biofilms cause chronic infections because they show increased tolerance to antibiotics and resist phagocytosis, as well as other components of the innate and the adaptive immune system. As a consequence, a pronounced antibody response develops, leading to immune complex-mediated chronic inflammation, dominated by polymorphonuclear leukocytes. The chronic inflammation is the major cause of the lung tissue damage in CF. Biofilm growth in CF lungs is associated with an increased frequency of mutations, slow growth and adaptation of the bacteria to the conditions in the lungs, and to antibiotic therapy. Low bacterial metabolic activity and increase of doubling times of the bacterial cells in CF lungs are responsible for some of the tolerance to antibiotics. Conventional resistance mechanisms, such as chromosomal ?-lactamase, upregulated efflux pumps, and mutations of antibiotic target molecules in the bacteria, also contribute to the survival of P. aeruginosa biofilms. Biofilms can be prevented by early aggressive antibiotic prophylaxis or therapy, and they can be treated by chronic suppressive therapy.
Pseudomonas aeruginosa is the major cause of chronic pulmonary disease in cystic fibrosis (CF) patients. During chronic infection, P. aeruginosa lose certain virulence factors, transform into a mucoid phenotype, and develop antibiotic resistance. We hypothesized that these genetic and phenotypic alterations of P. aeruginosa affect the airway epithelial responses. A549 cells were infected with 27 well-characterized isolates of P. aeruginosa from CF patients obtained during longitudinal observation, or with P. aeruginosa mutant strains lacking flagella, pili, lipopolysaccharide, or pyocyanin. Pseudomonas aeruginosa isolates from the early stages of the infection exhibited high adherence to A549 cells, were readily internalized, and able to induce reactive oxygen species (ROS) production, apoptosis of infected cells, and the release of granulocyte macrophage colony-stimulating factor. Late P. aeruginosa isolates collected from patients with chronic lung infection were shown to have reduced adherence to and internalization into A549 cells compared with bacteria from patients with intermittent P. aeruginosa colonization, and induced lower production of ROS and apoptosis, but caused high proinflammatory cytokine and adhesion molecule expression. Our findings suggest that despite the loss of virulence factors during the adaptation process in the CF lung by late P. aeruginosa strains, they retain high proinflammatory abilities that likely contribute to the disease pathogenesis.
Pseudomonas aeruginosa is the predominant microorganism in chronic lung infection of cystic fibrosis patients. The chronic lung infection is preceded by intermittent colonization. When the chronic infection becomes established, it is well accepted that the isolated strains differ phenotypically from the intermittent strains. Dominating changes are the switch to mucoidity (alginate overproduction) and loss of epigenetic regulation of virulence such as the Quorum Sensing (QS). To elucidate the dynamics of P. aeruginosa QS systems during long term infection of the CF lung, we have investigated 238 isolates obtained from 152 CF patients at different stages of infection ranging from intermittent to late chronic. Isolates were characterized with regard to QS signal molecules, alginate, rhamnolipid and elastase production and mutant frequency. The genetic basis for change in QS regulation were investigated and identified by sequence analysis of lasR, rhlR, lasI and rhlI. The first QS system to be lost was the one encoded by las system 12 years (median value) after the onset of the lung infection with subsequent loss of the rhl encoded system after 17 years (median value) shown as deficiencies in production of the 3-oxo-C12-HSL and C4-HSL QS signal molecules respectively. The concomitant development of QS malfunction significantly correlated with the reduced production of rhamnolipids and elastase and with the occurrence of mutations in the regulatory genes lasR and rhlR. Accumulation of mutations in both lasR and rhlR correlated with development of hypermutability. Interestingly, a higher number of mucoid isolates were found to produce C4-HSL signal molecules and rhamnolipids compared to the non-mucoid isolates. As seen from the present data, we can conclude that P. aeruginosa and particularly the mucoid strains do not lose the QS regulation or the ability to produce rhamnolipids until the late stage of the chronic infection.
A biofilm is a structured consortium of bacteria embedded in a self-produced polymer matrix consisting of polysaccharide, protein and DNA. Bacterial biofilms cause chronic infections because they show increased tolerance to antibiotics and disinfectant chemicals as well as resisting phagocytosis and other components of the bodys defence system. The persistence of, for example, staphylococcal infections related to foreign bodies is due to biofilm formation. Likewise, chronic Pseudomonas aeruginosa lung infection in cystic fibrosis patients is caused by biofilm-growing mucoid strains. Characteristically, gradients of nutrients and oxygen exist from the top to the bottom of biofilms and these gradients are associated with decreased bacterial metabolic activity and increased doubling times of the bacterial cells; it is these more or less dormant cells that are responsible for some of the tolerance to antibiotics. Biofilm growth is associated with an increased level of mutations as well as with quorum-sensing-regulated mechanisms. Conventional resistance mechanisms such as chromosomal beta-lactamase, upregulated efflux pumps and mutations in antibiotic target molecules in bacteria also contribute to the survival of biofilms. Biofilms can be prevented by early aggressive antibiotic prophylaxis or therapy and they can be treated by chronic suppressive therapy. A promising strategy may be the use of enzymes that can dissolve the biofilm matrix (e.g. DNase and alginate lyase) as well as quorum-sensing inhibitors that increase biofilm susceptibility to antibiotics.
During the chronic lung infection of patients with cystic fibrosis (CF), Pseudomonas aeruginosa can survive for long periods due to adaptive evolution mediated by genetic variation. Hypermutability is considered to play an important role in this adaptive evolution and it has been demonstrated that mutator populations are amplified in the CF lung by hitchhiking with adaptive mutations. Two of the genes that are frequently mutated in isolates from chronic infection are mucA and lasR. Loss-of-function mutations in these genes determine the phenotypic switch to mucoidy and loss of quorum sensing, which are considered hallmarks of chronic virulence. The aims of our study were to investigate (1) the genetic background of the P. aeruginosa subpopulations with non-mutator, weak or strong mutator phenotype and their dynamics during the chronic lung infection, and (2) the time sequence in which the hypermutable, mucoid and quorum-sensing-negative phenotypes emerge during chronic lung infection. For these purposes the sequences of mutS, mutL, uvrD, mutT, mutY and mutM anti-mutator genes as well as of mucA and lasR were analysed in 70 sequential P. aeruginosa isolates obtained from the respiratory secretions of 10 CF patients (one to three isolates per time point). Analysis of the genetic background of the mutator phenotype showed that mutS was the most commonly affected gene followed by mutL in isolates with strong mutator phenotype. The mutT, mutY, mutM genes were affected in isolates with low fold-changes in the mutation frequencies compared to the reference strain PAO1. Isolates with non-mutator, weak or strong mutator phenotype were represented at all time points showing co-existence of these subpopulations, which suggests parallel evolution of the various mutators in the different focal niches of infection in the CF lung. Mutations in mucA and lasR occurred earlier than mutations in the anti-mutator genes, showing that hypermutability is not a prerequisite for the acquisition of mucoidy and loss of quorum sensing, considered hallmarks of chronic virulence. Significantly higher mutation rates and MICs of ceftazidime, meropenem and ciprofloxacin were found for isolates collected late (more than 10 years) during the chronic lung infection compared to isolates collected earlier, which suggests an amplification of the mutator subpopulation by hitchhiking with development of antibiotic resistance. Similar evolutionary pathways concordant with adaptive radiation were observed in different clonal lineages of P. aeruginosa from CF patients.
Pseudomonas aeruginosa causes opportunistic infections in immunocompromised individuals and patients ventilated mechanically and is the major pathogen in patients with cystic fibrosis, in which it causes chronic infections. Epidemiological, in vitro and animal data suggest a role for respiratory virus infections in facilitating colonization and infection with P. aeruginosa. A study was undertaken to determine whether respiratory syncytial virus (RSV) infection could facilitate the initiation of an acute infection with P. aeruginosa in vivo. Balb/c mice were infected intranasally with P. aeruginosa, with and without simultaneous inoculation with RSV. Lung function measurements were undertaken using Whole Body Plethysmography and lungs were harvested 24 hr after inoculation. Mice exposed to RSV and P. aeruginosa showed 2,000 times higher colony-forming units (CFU) counts of P. aeruginosa in the lung homogenates when compared to mice which were only infected with P. aeruginosa and lung function changes were more severe in co-infected mice. Control mice receiving RSV alone showed no significant changes in lung function or cytokine production, and no inflammatory changes in the lung parenchyma. These results suggest that RSV can facilitate the initiation of acute P. aeruginosa infection without the RSV infection being clinically apparent. This could have implications for treatment strategies to prevent opportunistic P. aeruginosa lung infection.
Effects of treatment with tobramycin initiated 1 or 24 h post-infection were investigated in a new version of a pulmonary infection model in mice. The model reflects the differentiated behaviour of Pseudomonas aeruginosa mucoid strains isolated from the lungs of one chronically infected cystic fibrosis (CF) patient at different time periods during chronic lung infection.
The dominant cause of premature death in patients suffering from cystic fibrosis (CF) is chronic lung infection with Pseudomonas aeruginosa. The chronic lung infection often lasts for decades with just one clone. However, as a result of inflammation, antibiotic treatment and different niches in the lungs, the clone undergoes significant genetic changes, resulting in diversifying geno- and phenotypes. Such an adaptation may generate different host responses. To experimentally reflect the year-long chronic lung infection in CF, groups of BALB/c mice were infected with clonal isolates from different periods (1980, 1988, 1997, 1999 and 2003) of the chronic lung infection of one CF patient using the seaweed alginate embedment model. The results showed that the non-mucoid clones reduced their virulence over time, resulting in faster clearing of the bacteria from the lungs, improved pathology and reduced pulmonary production of macrophage inflammatory protein-2 (MIP-2) and granulocyte colony-stimulating factor (G-CSF). In contrast, the mucoid clones were more virulent and virulence increased with time, resulting in impaired pulmonary clearing of the latest clone, severe inflammation and increased pulmonary MIP-2 and G-CSF production. In conclusion, adaptation of P. aeruginosa in CF is reflected by changed ability to establish lung infection and results in distinct host responses to mucoid and non-mucoid phenotypes.
The molecular epidemiology of the chronic airway infections with Pseudomonas aeruginosa in individuals with cystic fibrosis (CF) was investigated by cross-sectional analysis of bacterial isolates from 51 CF centers and by longitudinal analysis of serial isolates which had been collected at the CF centers Hanover and Copenhagen since the onset of airway colonization over 30 years.
The airways of patients with cystic fibrosis (CF) are nearly always infected with many different microorganisms. This environment offers warm, humid and nutrient-rich conditions, but is also stressful owing to frequent antibiotic therapy and the host immune response. Pseudomonas aeruginosa is commonly isolated from the airways of patients with CF, where it most often establishes chronic infections that usually persist for the rest of the lives of the patients. This bacterium is a major cause of mortality and morbidity and has therefore been studied intensely. Here, we discuss how P. aeruginosa evolves from a state of early, recurrent intermittent colonization of the airways of patients with CF to a chronic infection state, and how this process offers opportunities to study bacterial evolution in natural environments. We believe that such studies are valuable not only for our understanding of bacterial evolution but also for the future development of new therapeutic strategies to treat severe chronic infections.
Resistance to ?-lactam antibiotics is a frequent problem in Pseudomonas aeruginosa lung infection of cystic fibrosis (CF) patients. This resistance is mainly due to the hyperproduction of chromosomally encoded ?-lactamase and biofilm formation. The purpose of this study was to investigate the role of ?-lactamase in the pharmacokinetics (PK) and pharmacodynamics (PD) of ceftazidime and imipenem on P. aeruginosa biofilms. P. aeruginosa PAO1 and its corresponding ?-lactamase-overproducing mutant, PA?DDh2Dh3, were used in this study. Biofilms of these two strains in flow chambers, microtiter plates, and on alginate beads were treated with different concentrations of ceftazidime and imipenem. The kinetics of antibiotics on the biofilms was investigated in vitro by time-kill methods. Time-dependent killing of ceftazidime was observed in PAO1 biofilms, but concentration-dependent killing activity of ceftazidime was observed for ?-lactamase-overproducing biofilms of P. aeruginosa in all three models. Ceftazidime showed time-dependent killing on planktonic PAO1 and PA?DDh2Dh3. This difference is probably due to the special distribution and accumulation in the biofilm matrix of ?-lactamase, which can hydrolyze the ?-lactam antibiotics. The PK/PD indices of the AUC/MBIC and C(max)/MBIC (AUC is the area under concentration-time curve, MBIC is the minimal biofilm-inhibitory concentration, and C(max) is the maximum concentration of drug in serum) are probably the best parameters to describe the effect of ceftazidime in ?-lactamase-overproducing P. aeruginosa biofilms. Meanwhile, imipenem showed time-dependent killing on both PAO1 and PA?DDh2Dh3 biofilms. An inoculum effect of ?-lactams was found for both planktonic and biofilm P. aeruginosa cells. The inoculum effect of ceftazidime for the ?-lactamase-overproducing mutant PA?DDh2Dh3 biofilms was more obvious than for PAO1 biofilms, with a requirement of higher antibiotic concentration and a longer period of treatment.
During chronic lung infection of patients with cystic fibrosis, Pseudomonas aeruginosa can survive for long periods of time under the challenging selective pressure imposed by the immune system and antibiotic treatment as a result of its biofilm mode of growth and adaptive evolution mediated by genetic variation. Mucoidy, hypermutability and acquirement of mutational antibiotic resistance are important adaptive phenotypes that are selected during chronic P. aeruginosa infection. This review dicsusses the role played by these phenotypes for the tolerance of biofilms to antibiotics and show that mucoidy and hypermutability change the architecture of in vitro formed biofilms and lead to increase tolerance to antibiotics. Production of high levels of beta-lactamase impairs penetration of beta-lactam antibiotics due to inactivation of the antibiotic. In conclusion, these data underline the importance of biofilm prevention strategies by early aggressive antibiotic prophylaxis or therapy before phenotypic diversification during chronic lung infection of patients with cystic fibrosis.
Many Pseudomonas aeruginosa isolates from the airways of patients with cystic fibrosis (CF) are sensitive to antibiotics in susceptibility testing, but eradication of the infection is difficult. The main reason is the biofilm formation in the airways of patients with CF. The pharmacokinetics (PKs) and pharmacodynamics (PDs) of antimicrobials can reliably be used to predict whether antimicrobial regimens will achieve the maximum bactericidal effect against infections. Unfortunately, however, most PK/PD studies of antimicrobials have been done on planktonic cells and very few PK/PD studies have been done on biofilms, partly due to the lack of suitable models in vivo. In the present study, a biofilm lung infection model was developed to provide an objective and quantitative evaluation of the PK/PD profile of antimicrobials. Killing curves were set up to detect the antimicrobial kinetics on planktonic and biofilm P. aeruginosa cells in vivo. Colistin showed concentration-dependent killing, while imipenem showed time-dependent killing on both planktonic and biofilm P. aeruginosa cells in vivo. The parameter best correlated to the elimination of bacteria in lung by colistin was the area under the curve (AUC) versus MIC (AUC/MIC) for planktonic cells or the AUC versus minimal biofilm inhibitory concentration (MBIC; AUC/MBIC) for biofilm cells. The best-correlated parameter for imipenem was the time that the drug concentration was above the MIC for planktonic cells (T(MIC)) or time that the drug concentration was above the MBIC (T(MBIC)) for biofilm cells. However, the AUC/MIC of imipenem showed a better correlation with the efficacy of imipenem for biofilm infections (R(2) = 0.89) than planktonic cell infections (R(2) = 0.38). The postantibiotic effect (PAE) of colistin and imipenem was shorter in biofilm infections than planktonic cell infections in this model.
Antibiotic-tolerant, biofilm forming Pseudomonas aeruginosa has long been recognized as a major cause of chronic lung infections of cystic fibrosis patients. The mechanisms involved in the activity of antibiotics on biofilm are not completely clear. We have investigated whether the proposed induction of cytotoxic hydroxyl radicals (OH(?) ) during antibiotic treatment of planktonically grown cells may contribute to action of the commonly used antibiotic ciprofloxacin on P. aeruginosa biofilms. For this purpose WT PAO1, a catalase deficient ?katA and a ciprofloxacin resistant mutant of PAO1 (gyrA) were grown as biofilms in microtiter plates and treated with ciprofloxacin. Formation of OH(?) and total amount of reactive oxygen species (ROS) was measured and viability was estimated. Formation of OH(?) and total ROS in PAO1 biofilms treated with ciprofloxacin was shown but higher levels were measured in ?katA biofilms and no ROS production was seen in the gyrA biofilms. Treatment with ciprofloxacin decreased the viability of PAO1 and ?katA biofilms but not of gyrA biofilms. Addition of thiourea, a OH(?) scavenger, decreased the OH(?) levels and killing of PAO1 biofilm. Our study shows that OH(?) is produced by P. aeruginosa biofilms treated with ciprofloxacin which may contribute to the killing of biofilm subpopulations. This article is protected by copyright. All rights reserved.
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