Antibiotic perturbation of mixed-strain Pseudomonas aeruginosa infection in patients with cystic fibrosis

Anna S. Tai, Laura J. Sherrard, Timothy J. Kidd, Kay A Ramsay, Cameron Buckley, Melanie Syrmis, Keith Grimwood, Scott C. Bell, David M. Whiley

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Background Pulmonary exacerbations in cystic fibrosis (CF) remain poorly understood and treatment is usually targeted at Pseudomonas aeruginosa. Within Australia a predominant shared P. aeruginosa strain (AUST-02) is associated with greater treatment needs. This single centre study assessed temporal shared strain population dynamics during and after antibiotic treatment of exacerbations. Methods Sputum was collected from 12 adult patients with a history of chronic AUST-02 infection at four time-points during and after treatment of an exacerbation. Forty-eight P. aeruginosa isolates within each sample underwent AUST-02 allele-specific PCR and SNP-based strain genotyping. Results Various commonly shared Australian strains (AUST-01, 0.1%; AUST-02, 54.3%; AUST-06, 36.6%; AUST-07, 4.6%; AUST-11, 4.3%) and two unique strains (0.1%) were identified from 45 sputum samples (2160 isolates). Based on within-patient relative abundance of strains, a “single-strain infection” (n = 7) or “mixed-strain infection” (n = 5) was assigned to each patient. A significant temporal variation in the P. aeruginosa population composition was found for those with mixed-strain infection (P < 0.001). Patients with mixed-strain infections had more long-term treatment requirements than those with single-strain infection. Moreover, despite both groups having similar lung function at study entry, patients with single-strain infection had greater improvement in FEV1% predicted following their exacerbation treatment (P = 0.02). Conclusion Pulmonary exacerbations may reveal multiple, unrelated P. aeruginosa strains whose relative abundance with one another may change rapidly, in a sustained and unpredictable manner.
Original languageEnglish
Article number138
JournalBMC Pulmonary Medicine
Publication statusPublished - 02 Nov 2017


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