WS02.7 Initial and chronic MRSA infection in cystic fibrosis

D.F. Gilpin, S. Murdock, L.R. Hoffman, E. Vallières, S. McGrath, M.M. Tunney, J.S. Elborn, M.S. Muhlebach

Research output: Contribution to journalMeeting abstractpeer-review


Objectives Chronic MRSA infection, which affects approximately 26% of CF patients in the USA, is associated with declining lung function and poor outcomes (Dasenbrook, 2010). Anaerobic niches have been described within the CF lung, potentially influencing the virulence of MRSA. This study aims to compare initial and chronic CF MRSA isolates, following aerobic and anaerobic culture. Methods Isolates, obtained from CF sputum at first isolation [“early” (n = 10)] or up to 5 years later, during chronic infection [“late” (n = 15)] were cultured in aerobic and anaerobic conditions. Differences in virulence were compared using the Galleria mellonella infection model. Biofilm formation of each isolate was assessed following staining with crystal violet. Production of Δ-haemolysin (Δ-hly), a surrogate marker for expression of the virulence regulator agr, was determined by haemolysis assay. Results MRSA grown in anaerobic conditions had significantly increased virulence in the G. mellonella model (p = 0.007), increased biofilm formation (p = 0.006) and increased Δ-hly production (p<0.0001). No significant difference between Δ-hly production or biofilm formation were observed between early and late isolates; however late isolates were found to be more virulent in the G. mellonella model (p = 0.0002). Conclusion These results suggest that an anaerobic environment, as found in the CF lung, may increase virulence of MRSA and aid in the establishment of chronic infection. Further clinical studies are required to determine how these phenotypic changes are associated with transition to chronic infection and patient outcome.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)S4
Number of pages1
JournalJournal of Cystic Fibrosis
Issue numberSupplement 1
Publication statusPublished - 2015

Bibliographical note

Oral Presentation - Abstracts of the 38th European Cystic Fibrosis Conference


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