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1.  Factors Influencing Time to Vancomycin-Induced Clearance of Nonendocarditis Methicillin-Resistant Staphylococcus aureus Bacteremia: Role of Platelet Microbicidal Protein Killing and agr Genotypes 
Vancomycin susceptibility, the accessory gene global regulator (agr) genotype and function, staphylococcal cassette chromosome (SCC) mec type, and susceptibility to cationic thrombin-induced platelet microbicidal protein 1 (tPMP-1) have been individually predictive of duration of methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) bacteremia. This investigation evaluated the interrelationship of these factors with time to clearance of MRSA bacteremia during vancomycin therapy in patients without endocarditis.
Vancomycin minimum inhibitory concentration and in vitro killing, agr function (δ-hemolysin activity), agr group, SCCmec type, and survival in tPMP-1 killing assays were determined for 29 MRSA bacteremia isolates.
Increased resistance to tPMP-1 killing was observed with agr group III MRSA (P =.025) and MRSA with reduced or absent agr function (P =.023). The median time to clearance of MRSA bacteremia was earlier for agr group III (3 days) versus group I (10.5 days) or II (15 days) (P =.001). In multivariate analysis, agr group II, reduced tPMP-1 killing in vitro, and prior vancomycin exposure were significant independent predictors of longer MRSA bacteremia duration.
Specific genotypic, phenotypic, and clinical parameters appear to correlate with persistent MRSA bacteremia. The interrelationship of these and other factors probably contributes to vancomycin-mediated clearance of MRSA bacteremia.
PMCID: PMC2819315  PMID: 20001853
2.  Vancomycin Tolerance in Methicillin-Resistant Staphylococcus aureus: Influence of Vancomycin, Daptomycin, and Telavancin on Differential Resistance Gene Expression 
Methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) isolates that are susceptible to vancomycin but are tolerant to its killing effect may present a potential challenge for effective treatment. This study compared the microbiologic characteristics of clinical vancomycin-tolerant (VT-MRSA) and vancomycin-susceptible (VS-MRSA) strains using phenotypic and gene regulation studies. MRSA isolates collected from vancomycin-treated patients with bacteremia over a 5-year period were analyzed for vancomycin, daptomycin, and telavancin susceptibility, as well as accessory gene regulator (agr) group and function. Vancomycin tolerance was defined by a minimum bactericidal concentration (MBC)/minimum inhibitor concentration (MIC) ratio of ≥32 mg/liter. VT-MRSA isolates were compared to VS-MRSA isolates for differences in antimicrobial susceptibility, time-kill activity, and gene expression of key cell envelope response genes vraSR, dltA, and mprF. All 115 isolates evaluated were susceptible to vancomycin, daptomycin, and telavancin. Seven isolates (6%) were VT-MRSA. agr group II was more prevalent in isolates with vancomycin MBC/MIC ratios of ≥8. In time-kill analyses, VT-MRSA had reduced vancomycin killing, but daptomycin and telavancin activities were maintained. Significantly greater gene expression was observed in VT-MRSA after 72 h of subinhibitory antibiotic exposures. Vancomycin most notably increased vraSR expression (P = 0.002 versus VS-MRSA strains). Daptomycin and telavancin increased expression of all genes studied, most significantly mprF expression (P < 0.001). Longer durations of antibiotic exposure (72 h versus 24 h) resulted in substantial increases in gene expression in VT-MRSA. Although the clinical impact of VT-MRSA is not fully recognized, these data suggest that VT-MRSA strains, while still susceptible, have altered gene regulation to adapt to the antimicrobial effects of glyco- and lipopeptides that may emerge during prolonged durations of exposure.
PMCID: PMC3421561  PMID: 22687502
3.  Vancomycin In Vitro Bactericidal Activity and Its Relationship to Efficacy in Clearance of Methicillin-Resistant Staphylococcus aureus Bacteremia▿  
We examined the relationship between the time to clearance of methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) bacteremia while patients were receiving vancomycin therapy and the in vitro bactericidal activity of vancomycin. Vancomycin killing assays were performed with 34 MRSA bloodstream isolates (17 accessory gene regulator group II [agr-II] and 17 non-agr-II isolates) from 34 different patients with MRSA bacteremia for whom clinical and microbiological outcomes data were available. Vancomycin doses were prospectively adjusted to achieve peak plasma concentrations of 28 to 32 μg/ml and trough concentrations of 8 to 12 μg/ml. Bactericidal assays were performed over 24 h with ∼107 to 108 CFU/ml in broth containing 16 μg/ml vancomycin. The median time to clearance of bacteremia was 6.5 days for patients with MRSA isolates demonstrating ≥2.5 reductions in log10 CFU/ml at 24 h and >10.5 days for patients with MRSA isolates demonstrating <2.5 log10 CFU/ml by 24 h (P = 0.025). The median time to clearance was significantly longer with MRSA isolates with vancomycin MICs of 2.0 μg/ml compared to that with MRSA isolates with MICs of ≤1.0 μg/ml (P = 0.019). The bacteremia caused by MRSA isolates with absent or severely reduced delta-hemolysin expression was of a longer duration of bacteremia (10 days and 6.5 days, respectively; P = 0.27) and had a decreased probability of eradication (44% and 78%, respectively; P = 0.086). We conclude that strain-specific microbiological features of MRSA, such as increased vancomycin MICs and decreased killing by vancomycin, appear to be predictive of prolonged MRSA bacteremia while patients are receiving vancomycin therapy. Prolonged bacteremia and decreased delta-hemolysin expression may also be related. Evaluation of these properties may be useful in the consideration of antimicrobial therapies that can be used as alternatives to vancomycin for the treatment of MRSA bacteremia.
PMCID: PMC1913284  PMID: 17452488
4.  Predictors of agr Dysfunction in Methicillin-Resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) Isolates among Patients with MRSA Bloodstream Infections ▿ 
Antimicrobial Agents and Chemotherapy  2011;55(12):5433-5437.
Despite emerging evidence that dysfunction in the accessory gene regulator (agr) locus is associated with deleterious outcomes among patients treated with vancomycin for methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) infections, factors predictive of agr dysfunction have not been evaluated. This study describes the epidemiology of agr dysfunction, identifies predictors of agr dysfunction in MRSA isolates among those with MRSA bloodstream infections, and describes the relationship between agr dysfunction and other microbiologic phenotypes. A cross-sectional study of patients with MRSA bloodstream infections at two institutions in upstate New York was performed. Clinical data on demographics, comorbidities, disease severity, hospitalization history, and antibiotic history were collected. Microbiologic phenotypes, including agr dysfunction, MIC values by broth microdilution (BMD) and Etest, and vancomycin heteroresistance (hVISA) were tested. Multivariable analyses were performed to identify factors predictive of agr dysfunction. Among 200 patients with an MRSA bloodstream infection, the proportion of strains with agr dysfunction was 31.5%. The distribution of MICs determined by both BMD and Etest were equivalent across agr groups, and there was no association between agr dysfunction and the presence of hVISA. Severity of illness, comorbidities, and hospitalization history were comparable between agr groups. In the multivariate analysis, prior antibiotic exposure was the only factor of variables studied found to be predictive of agr dysfunction. This relationship was predominantly driven by prior beta-lactam and fluoroquinolone administration in the bivariate analysis. Identifying these institution-specific risk factors can be used to develop a process to assess the risk of agr dysfunction and guide empirical antibiotic therapy decisions.
PMCID: PMC3232784  PMID: 21930887
5.  The impact of vancomycin susceptibility on treatment outcomes among patients with methicillin resistant Staphylococcus aureus bacteremia 
BMC Infectious Diseases  2011;11:335.
Management of methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) bacteremia remains a challenge. The emergence of MRSA strains with reduced vancomycin susceptibility complicates treatment.
A prospective cohort study (2005-2007) of patients with MRSA bacteremia treated with vancomycin was performed at an academic hospital. Vancomycin minimum inhibitory concentration (MIC) and minimum bactericidal concentration (MBC) were determined for stored MRSA isolates. Cox regression analysis was performed to predict 28-day all-cause mortality.
One hundred sixty-three patients with MRSA bacteremia were evaluated. One hundred twelve patients (68.7%) had bacteremia due to MRSA with a vancomycin MIC ≥ 2 ug/mL. Among strains with a vancomycin MIC ≥ 2 ug/mL, 10 isolates (8.9%) were vancomycin-intermediate S. aureus (VISA). Thirty-five patients (21.5%) died within 28 days after the diagnosis of MRSA bacteremia. Higher vancomycin MIC was not associated with mortality in this cohort [adjusted hazard ratio (aHR), 1.57; 95% confidence interval (CI), 0.73-3.37]. Vancomycin tolerance was observed in 4.3% (7/162) of isolates and was not associated with mortality (crude HR, 0.62; 95% CI, 0.08-4.50). Factors independently associated with mortality included higher age (aHR, 1.03; 95% CI 1.00-1.05), cirrhosis (aHR, 3.01; 95% CI, 1.24-7.30), and intensive care unit admission within 48 hours after the diagnosis of bacteremia (aHR, 5.99; 95% CI, 2.86-12.58).
Among patients with MRSA bacteremia treated with vancomycin, reduced vancomycin susceptibility and vancomycin tolerance were not associated with mortality after adjusting for patient factors. Patient factors including severity of illness and underlying co-morbidities were associated with the mortality.
PMCID: PMC3254119  PMID: 22142287
6.  Predicting High Vancomycin Minimum Inhibitory Concentration in Methicillin-Resistant Staphylococcus aureus Bloodstream Infections 
MSRA isolates with high vancomycin MIC have been associated with treatment failure. Predicting CIR090 the likelihood of high vancomycin MIC may be useful for clinical decision making. We present a simple tool to help predict vancomycin MIC in MRSA bacteremia.
Background. Increased mortality, treatment failure, and hospital length of stay have been reported in patients treated with vancomycin for methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) bacteremia when their isolates have a vancomycin minimum inhibitory concentration (MIC) > 1 μg/mL. Automated testing often fails to identify these isolates. We developed a simple clinical rule to predict vancomycin MIC of 2 μg/mL in patients with MRSA bacteremia.
Methods. This cohort study was conducted at a tertiary care hospital and an affiliated acute rehabilitation facility. Consecutive patients with MRSA bacteremia from 2001 through 2007 were prospectively identified. Patient characteristics were examined for their association with high vancomycin MIC and a predictive model was created.
Results. A total of 296 MRSA bacteremic episodes among 272 patients were identified; 19% of the episodes had isolates with a vancomycin MIC of 2 μg/mL. Variables associated with a vancomycin MIC of 2 μg/mL included older age (odds ratio [OR], 4.0; 95% confidence interval [CI], 1.5–10.4); prior vancomycin (OR, 3.8; 95% CI, 1.9–7.6) or daptomycin (OR, 7.9; 95% CI, 1.8–34.0) exposure; the presence of a nontunneled central venous catheter (OR, 1.9; 95% CI, 1.1–3.4) or prosthetic heart valve (OR, 3.6; 95% CI, 1.3–10.0); a history of MRSA bacteremia (OR, 3.0; 95% CI, 1.6–5.6); and the presence of sepsis (OR, 2.7; 95% CI, 1.4–5.1) or shock (OR, 2.2; 95% CI, 1.1–4.2) at the time of culture. The final predictive rule included age > 50 years (3 points), prior vancomycin exposure (2 points), history of MRSA bacteremia (2 points), history of chronic liver disease (2 points), and presence of a nontunneled central venous catheter (1 point). A score cutoff of ≥ 4 resulted in a sensitivity of 75% and specificity of 59% (negative predictive value, 91%; positive predictive value, 30%).
Conclusions. Several factors that predict high vancomycin MIC were identified, and a simple predictive tool was created to help clinicians determine which patients are likely to have MRSA isolates with high vancomycin MIC.
PMCID: PMC3070034  PMID: 21460313
7.  Bacteremia and endocarditis due to methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus: the potential role of daptomycin 
Staphylococcus aureus bacteremia is a common disease with a high risk of mortality and complications. An increasing proportion of cases are methicillin-resistant S.aureus (MRSA), and methicillin-resistance is being observed from both community-acquired bacteremias and in healthcare-associated infections. The duration of bacteremia and transesophageal echocardiographic findings are useful in predicting the likelihood of complications including endocarditis. Therapy with vancomycin has been the mainstay in the treatment of MRSA bacteremias, but is associated with a long duration of bacteremia on therapy and relapses. Loss of susceptibility to vancomycin, due to thickened cell walls and through the acquisition of the vanA gene, has been described. Daptomycin is newly approved lipopeptide that is highly bactericidal against most strains of MRSA. In a randomized trial, daptomycin was demonstrated to be effective in the treatment of S. aureus bacteremia and right-sided endocarditis. However treatment failures associated with isolates with daptomycin non-susceptibility are reported, and there is a correlation between isolates with reduced vancomycin susceptibility and reduced daptomycin susceptibility. Daptomycin is a useful alternative to vancomycin in the therapy of MRSA bacteremia and endocarditis. However the appropriate role of daptomycin in optimizing therapy with MRSA bacteremia and endocarditis remains to be elucidated.
PMCID: PMC2374935  PMID: 18472990
methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus; bacteremia; endocarditis; daptomycin
8.  Genotypic and phenotypic relationships among methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus from three multicentre bacteraemia studies 
At a time when the molecular epidemiology of methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) was changing, we sought to characterize several genotypic markers and glycopeptide susceptibility features of clinical isolates from patients with bacteraemia.
One hundred and sixty-eight MRSA bloodstream isolates obtained from three multicentre clinical trials were microbiologically and genotypically characterized.
All isolates were susceptible to vancomycin (MIC ≤ 2 mg/L); 38% belonged to accessory gene regulator (agr) group I, 52% belonged to group II and 10% belonged to group III. Typing of the staphylococcal cassette chromosome mec (SCCmec) showed that 67% were type II and 33% were type IV. The agr group II polymorphism was associated with SCCmec II (P < 0.001). Fifty-three percent of SCCmec II and 27% of SCCmec IV isolates had vancomycin MICs ≥1 mg/L (P = 0.001). One hundred percent of agr II strains were predicted to be members of clonal complex 5. SCCmec II was the genetic marker most predictive of vancomycin MICs of ≥1 mg/L. SCCmec IV isolates were more likely to have vancomycin MICs ≤0.5 mg/L.
Given that SCCmec IV is a marker for a community-based organism for which less prior vancomycin exposure is predicted, we conclude that prior antibiotic exposure in agr group II organisms may account for their increased vancomycin MICs.
PMCID: PMC2667134  PMID: 19261624
MRSA; SCCmec types; clonal types; Staphylococcus spp.
9.  Difference in agr Dysfunction and Reduced Vancomycin Susceptibility between MRSA Bacteremia Involving SCCmec Types IV/IVa and I–III 
PLoS ONE  2012;7(11):e49136.
Dysfunction of agr, with reduced susceptibility or hetero-resistance to vancomycin, is thought to be associated with a worse outcome of methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) bacteremia (MRSAB). However, the difference in agr dysfunction according to the SCCmec type in MRSA infection is undetermined. We compared the prevalence of agr dysfunction, reduced vancomycin susceptibility and the outcomes of SCCmec IV/IVa and I–III MRSAB.
The study included 307 cases of MRSAB. SCCmec types were determined by multiplex PCR. The clinical and microbiological features and outcomes of 58 SCCmec IV/IVa MRSAB were compared with those of 249 SCCmec I–III MRSAB.
Compared with SCCmec I–III MRSAB, SCCmec IV/IVa MRSAB was associated with lower rates of agr dysfunction (3% vs. 43%), vancomycin minimum inhibitory concentration (MIC) = 2 µg/mL (3% vs. 15%), and hetero-resistance to vancomycin (0% vs. 8%) (all P<0.05). However, the 30-day and S. aureus-related mortality in patients with SCCmec IV/IVa MRSAB were not different from those in patients with SCCmec I–III MRSAB in multivariate analyses (HR 1.168, 95% CI 0.705–1.938; HR 1.025, 95% CI 0.556–1.889).
SCCmec IV/IVa MRSAB was associated with lower rates of agr dysfunction and hetero-resistance to vancomycin and a lower vancomycin MIC, compared with SCCmec I–III MRSAB. However, the outcomes of SCCmec IV/IVa MRSAB did not differ from those of SCCmec I–III MRSAB.
PMCID: PMC3495764  PMID: 23152862
10.  Reduced vancomycin susceptibility and staphylococcal cassette chromosome mec (SCCmec) type distribution in methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus bacteraemia 
Journal of Antimicrobial Chemotherapy  2012;67(10):2346-2349.
Recent epidemiological evidence suggests that genotypic and phenotypic characteristics that have typically distinguished community-associated methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) and healthcare-associated MRSA strains may be evolving. The objective of this study was to examine the association between reduced vancomycin susceptibility (RVS) and staphylococcal cassette chromosome mec (SCCmec) type in MRSA bloodstream isolates.
A cohort study of patients who were hospitalized from 2007 to 2009 with S. aureus bacteraemia was conducted within a university health system. Bivariable analyses were conducted to determine the association between RVS and SCCmec type, as well as other microbiological characteristics including Panton–Valentine leucocidin, accessory gene regulator (agr) dysfunction and vancomycin heteroresistance.
A total of 188 patients with MRSA bacteraemia were identified: 116 (61.7%) and 72 (38.3%) patients had infections due to healthcare-associated MRSA and community-associated MRSA, respectively. As defined by a vancomycin Etest MIC > 1.0 mg/L, the prevalence of RVS was 40.4%. Isolates with RVS were significantly more likely to be associated with SCCmec II compared with isolates without RVS (74.7% and 47.3%, respectively, P < 0.001), but not with Panton–Valentine leucocidin (P = 0.10), agr dysfunction (P = 0.19) or healthcare-associated infection (P = 0.36).
The results of our study demonstrate important microbiological characteristics among MRSA isolates characterized by RVS, including a significant association between SCCmec II and elevated vancomycin MIC. It is clear that the clinical and molecular epidemiology of MRSA is evolving, and further understanding of factors determining virulence will be important for the elucidation of optimal treatment approaches for associated infections.
PMCID: PMC3444231  PMID: 22761330
MRSA; virulence factors; antimicrobial resistance; epidemiology
11.  Relationship of MIC and Bactericidal Activity to Efficacy of Vancomycin for Treatment of Methicillin-Resistant Staphylococcus aureus Bacteremia 
Journal of Clinical Microbiology  2004;42(6):2398-2402.
We attempted to find a relationship between the microbiological properties of bloodstream isolates of methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) and the efficacy of vancomycin in the treatment of bacteremia. Vancomycin susceptibility testing was performed, and bactericidal activity was determined for 30 isolates from 30 different patients with MRSA bacteremia for whom clinical and microbiological outcome data were available. The majority of these patients had been previously enrolled in multicenter prospective studies of MRSA bacteremia refractory to conventional vancomycin therapy. Logistic regression found a statistically significant relationship between treatment success with vancomycin and decreases in both vancomycin MICs (≤0.5 μg/ml versus 1.0 to 2.0 μg/ml; P = 0.02) and degree of killing (reduction in 1og10 CFU/milliliter) by vancomycin over 72 h of incubation in vitro (P = 0.03). For MRSA isolates with vancomycin MICs ≤ 0.5 μg/ml, vancomycin was 55.6% successful in the treatment of bacteremia whereas vancomycin was only 9.5% effective in cases in which vancomycin MICs for MRSA were 1 to 2 μg/ml. Patients with MRSA that was more effectively killed at 72 h by vancomycin in vitro had a higher clinical success rate with vancomycin therapy in the treatment of bacteremia (log10 < 4.71 [n = 9], 0%; log10 4.71 to 6.26 [n = 13], 23.1%; log10 > 6.27 [n = 8], 50%). We conclude that a significant risk for vancomycin treatment failure in MRSA bacteremia begins to emerge with increasing vancomycin MICs well within the susceptible range. Elucidating the mechanisms involved in intermediate-level glycopeptide resistance in S. aureus should begin by examining bacteria that begin to show changes in vancomycin susceptibility before the development of obvious resistance. Prognostic information for vancomycin treatment outcome in MRSA bacteremia may also be obtained by testing the in vitro bactericidal potency of vancomycin.
PMCID: PMC427878  PMID: 15184410
12.  Vancomycin Susceptibility within Methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus Lineages 
Emerging Infectious Diseases  2004;10(5):855-857.
Methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) with reduced vancomycin susceptibility (VISA, vancomycin-intermediate S. aureus) has been reported from many countries. Whether resistance is evolving regularly in different genetic backgrounds or in a single clone with a genetic predisposition, as early results suggest, is unclear. We have studied 101 MRSA with reduced vancomycin susceptibility from nine countries by multilocus sequence typing (MLST) and characterization of SCCmec (staphylococcal chromosomal cassette mec) and agr (accessory gene regulator). We found nine genotypes by MLST, with isolates within all five major hospital MRSA lineages. Most isolates (88/101) belonged to two of the earliest MRSA clones that have global prevalence. Our results show that reduced susceptibility to vancomycin has emerged in many successful epidemic lineages with no clear clonal disposition. Increasing antimicrobial resistance in genetically distinct pandemic clones may lead to MRSA infections that will become increasingly difficult to treat.
PMCID: PMC3323240  PMID: 15200819
vancomycin; methicillin resistance; Staphylococcus aureus epidemiology
13.  Clinical Significance of Varying Degrees of Vancomycin Susceptilibity in Methicillin-Resistant Staphylococcus aureus Bacteremia1 
Emerging Infectious Diseases  2003;9(6):657-664.
We conducted a retrospective study of the clinical aspects of bacteremia caused by methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) with heterogeneously reduced susceptibility to vancomycin. Bloodstream MRSA isolates were screened for reduced susceptibility by using brain-heart infusion agar, including 4 mg/L vancomycin with and without 4% NaCl. Patients whose isolates exhibited growth (case-patients) were compared with those whose isolates did not (controls) for demographics, coexisting chronic conditions, hospital events, antibiotic exposures, and outcomes. Sixty-one (41%) of 149 isolates exhibited growth. Subclones from 46 (75%) of these had a higher MIC of vancomycin than did their parent isolates. No isolates met criteria for vancomycin heteroresistance. No differences in potential predictors or in outcomes were found between case-patients and controls. These data show that patients with vancomycin-susceptible MRSA bacteremia have similar baseline clinical features and outcomes whether or not their bacterial isolates exhibit growth on screening media containing vancomycin.
PMCID: PMC3000153  PMID: 12781004
Staphylococcus aureus; methicillin resistance; vancomycin resistance; drug resistance; bacterial; bacteremia; bacterial infections; research
14.  Clinical Characteristics, Outcomes, and Microbiologic Features Associated with Methicillin-Resistant Staphylococcus aureus Bacteremia in Pediatric Patients Treated with Vancomycin ▿  
Journal of Clinical Microbiology  2010;48(3):894-899.
Vancomycin is the first-line therapy for methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) bacteremia, but its efficacy in adult patients has been questioned. Less is known about the outcomes of MRSA bacteremia treated with vancomycin in pediatric patients. This study reviews the outcomes and clinical characteristics of MRSA bacteremia in children treated with vancomycin and characterizes the microbiologic and molecular features of the bloodstream isolates. A retrospective cohort study was conducted among pediatric patients with MRSA bacteremia treated with vancomycin for >5 days from 1 August 2005 to 31 May 2007 in a large tertiary care center. MRSA bloodstream isolates were characterized by antimicrobial susceptibility testing, PCR analysis of virulence genes, and Diversilab typing. Clinical records were reviewed for outcomes and comorbidities. A total of 22 pediatric patients with MRSA bacteremia were identified. Eleven cases (50.0%) were considered vancomycin treatment failures. Features significantly associated with vancomycin treatment failure were prematurity (P = 0.02) and isolates positive for Panton-Valentine leukocidin (PVL) (P = 0.008). Features typically associated with community-associated MRSA strains were identified in hospital-associated isolates. A dominant clone was not responsible for the high number of treatment failures. Further studies are needed to determine if vancomycin should be the first-line treatment for MRSA bacteremia in premature infants and for PVL-positive isolates.
PMCID: PMC2832419  PMID: 20089758
15.  Relationship of agr Expression and Function with Virulence and Vancomycin Treatment Outcomes in Experimental Endocarditis Due to Methicillin-Resistant Staphylococcus aureus ▿ 
Antimicrobial Agents and Chemotherapy  2011;55(12):5631-5639.
The accessory gene regulator (agr) locus has been shown to be important for virulence in several animal models of Staphylococcus aureus infection. However, the role of agr in human infections, and specifically in antibiotic treatment, is controversial. Interestingly, agr dysfunction has been associated with reduced vancomycin responses. To systematically investigate the role of agr in virulence and treatment outcome in the context of endovascular infection, 10 well-characterized vancomycin-susceptible methicillin-resistant S. aureus (MRSA) bloodstream isolates (5 agr-I [clonal complex 45, or CC45] and 5 agr-II [CC5]) were studied for (i) agr function, (ii) RNAIII transcriptional profiles, (iii) agr locus sequences, (iv) intrinsic virulence and responses to vancomycin therapy in an experimental infective endocarditis (IE) model, and (v) in vivo RNAIII expression. Significant differences in agr function (determined by delta-hemolysin activity) correlated with the time point of RNAIII transcription (earlier RNAIII onset equals increased agr function). Unexpectedly, four MRSA strains with strong delta-hemolysin activities exhibited significant resistance to vancomycin treatment in experimental IE. In contrast, five of six MRSA strains with weak or no delta-hemolysin activity were highly susceptible to vancomycin therapy in the IE model. agr sequence analyses showed no common single-nucleotide polymorphism predictive of agr functionality. In vivo RNAIII expression in cardiac vegetations did not correlate with virulence or vancomycin treatment outcomes in the IE model. Inactivation of agr in two strains with strong delta-hemolysin activity did not affect virulence or the in vivo efficacy of vancomycin. Our findings suggest that agr dysfunction does not correlate with vancomycin treatment failures in this experimental IE model in two distinct MRSA genetic backgrounds.
PMCID: PMC3232782  PMID: 21968365
16.  Comparative Genome Sequencing of an Isogenic Pair of USA800 Clinical Methicillin-Resistant Staphylococcus aureus Isolates Obtained before and after Daptomycin Treatment Failure▿† 
We describe here a clinical daptomycin treatment failure in a patient with recurrent methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) bacteremia in whom daptomycin was administered after a failed empirical treatment course with vancomycin and piperacillin-tazobactam. We had the opportunity to compare the genome sequences of an isogenic pair of daptomycin-susceptible and -resistant MRSA isolates obtained before and after initiation of daptomycin therapy, respectively. The genotype of both isolates was USA800, ST5, SCCmec type IV, agr type II. There was no increase in cell wall thickness in the daptomycin-resistant strain despite having decreased susceptibility to both vancomycin and daptomycin. By comparing the genome sequences by pyrosequencing, we identified a polymorphism (S337L) in the tenth transmembrane segment of the multiple peptide resistance factor, MprF, encoding lysyl phosphatidylglycerol transferase. This enzyme has been shown previously to promote repulsion of daptomycin at the cell surface by addition of positively charged lysine to phosphatidylglycerol. Also, the hlb open reading frame (ORF) encoding the β-toxin was interrupted by a prophage in the daptomycin-susceptible strain; this phage was missing in the daptomycin-resistant isolate and the hlb ORF was restored. Loss of the phage in the resistant isolate also resulted in loss of the virulence factor genes clpP, scn, and sak. This is the first study to use pyrosequencing to compare the genomes of a daptomycin-susceptible/resistant MRSA isolate pair obtained during failed daptomycin therapy in humans.
PMCID: PMC3088213  PMID: 21343446
17.  Molecular features of heterogeneous vancomycin-intermediate Staphylococcus aureus strains isolated from bacteremic patients 
BMC Microbiology  2009;9:189.
Heterogeneous vancomycin-intermediate Staphylococcus aureus (hVISA) bacteremia is an emerging infection. Our objective was to determine the molecular features of hVISA strains isolated from bacteremic patients and to compare them to methicillin resistant S. aureus (MRSA) and methicillin sensitive S. aureus (MSSA) blood isolates.
We assessed phenotypic and genomic changes of hVISA (n = 24), MRSA (n = 16) and MSSA (n = 17) isolates by PCR to determine staphylococcal chromosomal cassette (SCCmec) types, Panton-Valentine leukocidin (PVL) and the accessory gene regulator (agr) loci. Biofilm formation was quantified. Genetic relatedness was assessed by PFGE. PFGE analysis of isolates was diverse suggesting multiple sources of infection. 50% of hVISA isolates carried SCCmec type I, 21% type II; 25% type V; in 4% the SCCmec type could not be identified. Among MRSA isolates, 44% were SCCmec type I, 12.5% type II, 25% type V, 12.5% were non-typable, and 6% were SCCmec type IVd. Only one hVISA isolate and two MSSA isolates carried the PVL. Biofilm formation and agr patterns were diverse.
hVISA isolates were diverse in all parameters tested. A considerable number of hVISA and MRSA strains carried the SCCmec type V cassette, which was not related to community acquisition.
PMCID: PMC2749053  PMID: 19732456
18.  Treatment Considerations for Recurrent MRSA Bacteremia Leading to Cholecystitis 
We present an end-stage renal disease patient with acute cholecystitis caused by a recurrence of methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) bacteremia. Timely antibiotic therapy with vancomycin did not eradicate the patient’s infection. In this patient, the minimum inhibitory concentration (MIC) of the organism for vancomycin was at the upper limit of susceptibility. The ability to thoroughly understand and interpret mean inhibitory concentrations is crucial in antibiotic selection. For high-risk patients with Staphylococcus aureus infection with reduced susceptibility to vancomycin as demonstrated by an MIC of 2 mg/L or greater, we suggest further investigation into linezolid as an alternative antibiotic to vancomycin therapy. Compared to vancomycin, linezolid has similar effectiveness in patients with MRSA bacteremia as well as improved penetration, particularly in bile.
PMCID: PMC3101964  PMID: 21246304
Staphylococcus aureus; Cholecystitis; Minimum inhibitory concentration; Vancomycin; Linezolid
19.  Molecular Typing and Phenotype Characterization of Methicillin-Resistant Staphylococcus aureus Isolates from Blood in Taiwan 
PLoS ONE  2012;7(1):e30394.
Staphylococcus aureus causes a variety of severe infections such as bacteremia and sepsis. At present, 60–80% of S. aureus isolates from Taiwan are methicillin resistant (MRSA). It has been shown that certain MRSA clones circulate worldwide. The goals of this study were to identify MRSA clones in Taiwan and to correlate the molecular types of isolates with their phenotypes.
A total of 157 MRSA isolates from bacteremic patients were collected from nine medical centers. They were typed based on polymorphisms in agr, SCCmec, MLST, spa, and dru. Phenotypes characterized included Panton-Valentine leucocidin (pvl), inducible macrolide-lincosamide-streptogramin B resistance (MLSBi), vancomycin (VA) and daptomycin (DAP) minimal inhibitory concentrations (MIC), and superantigenic toxin gene profiles. Difference between two consecutive samples was determined by Mann-Whitney-U test, and difference between two categorical variables was determined by Fisher's exact test.
Four major MRSA clone complexes CC1, CC5, CC8, and CC59 were found, including 4 CC1, 9 CC5, 111 CC8, and 28 CC59 isolates. These clones had the following molecular types: CC1: SCCmecIV and ST573; CC5: SCCmecII and ST5; CC8: SCCmecIII, ST239, and ST241, and CC59: SCCmecIV, SCCmecVT, ST59, and ST338. The toxin gene profiles of these clones were CC1: sec-seg-(sei)-sell-selm-(seln)-selo; CC5: sec-seg-sei-sell-selm-(seln)-selp-tst1; CC8: sea-selk-selq, and CC59: seb-selk-selq. Most isolates with SCCmecVT, ST59, spat437, and dru11 types were pvl+ (13 isolates), while multidrug resistance (≥4 antimicrobials) were associated with SCCmecIII, ST239, spa t037, agrI, and dru14 (119 isolates) (p<0.001). One hundred and twenty four isolates with the following molecular types had higher VA MIC: SCCmecII and SCCmecIII; ST5, ST239, and ST241; spa t002, t037, and t421; dru4, dru10, dru12, dru13, and dru14 (p<0.05). No particular molecular types were found to be associated with MLSBi phenotype.
Four major MRSA clone complexes were found in Taiwan. Further studies are needed to delineate the evolution of MRSA isolates.
PMCID: PMC3264593  PMID: 22291948
20.  Impact of accessory gene regulator (agr) dysfunction on vancomycin pharmacodynamics among Canadian community and health-care associated methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus 
The accessory gene regulator (agr) is a quorum sensing cluster of genes which control colonization and virulence in Staphylococcus aureus. We evaluated agr function in community- (CA) and healthcare-associated (HA) MRSA, to compare the pharmacodynamics and bactericidal activity of vancomycin against agr functional and dysfunctional HA-MRSA and CA-MRSA.
40 clinical isolates of MRSA from the Canadian Nosocomial Infection Surveillance Program were evaluated for delta-haemolysin production, as a surrogate marker of agr function. Time kill experiments were performed for vancomycin at 0 to 64 times the MIC against an initial inoculum of 106 and 108 cfu/ml of agr functional and dysfunctional CA-MRSA and HA-MRSA and these data were fit to a hill-type pharmacodynamic model.
15% isolates were agr dysfunctional, which was higher among HA-MRSA (26.3%) versus CA-MRSA (4.76%). Against a low initial inoculum of 106 cfu/ml of CA-MRSA, vancomycin pharmacodynamics were similar among agr functional and dysfunctional strains. However, against a high initial inoculum of 108 cfu/ml, killing activity was notably attenuated against agr dysfunctional CA-MRSA (USA400) and HA-MRSA (USA100). CA-MRSA displayed a 20.0 fold decrease in the maximal reduction in bacterial counts (Emax) which was 3.71 log10 CFU/ml for agr functional vs. 2.41 log10 CFU/ml for agr dysfunctional MRSA (p = 0.0007).
Dysfunction in agr was less common among CA-MRSA vs. HA-MRSA. agr dysfunction demonstrated an impact on vancomycin bactericidal activity and pharmacodynamics against a high initial inoculum of CA-MRSA and HA-MRSA, which may have implications for optimal antimicrobial therapy against persistent, difficult to treat MRSA infections.
PMCID: PMC3120648  PMID: 21599878
21.  Accessory Gene Regulator (agr) Dysfunction in Staphylococcus aureus Bloodstream Isolates from South Korean Patients 
We describe the genetic and microbiological characteristics of methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) bloodstream isolates with agr dysfunction from a tertiary-care hospital in Korea. Of these, ST5-SCCmec type II-agr group II MRSA isolates, which are known to be prevalent in hospital-acquired infections in Korea, were the most abundant, because of the clonal spread of a specific agr-defective lineage. This finding suggests that the loss of agr function may confer a potential advantage in a hospital setting. Clonal spread of a specific defective-agr strain was not observed among community-associated MRSA or methicillin-susceptible S. aureus clones, regardless of community or hospital acquisition of infection. agr-defective clones, including ST5 and ST239 MRSA, were enriched for heteroresistant vancomycin-intermediate S. aureus.
PMCID: PMC3591919  PMID: 23254438
22.  Relationship between Vancomycin MIC and Failure among Patients with Methicillin-Resistant Staphylococcus aureus Bacteremia Treated with Vancomycin▿  
There is growing concern that vancomycin has diminished activity for methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) infections, with vancomycin MICs at the high end of the CLSI susceptibility range. Despite this growing concern, there are limited clinical data to support this notion. To better elucidate this, a retrospective cohort study was conducted among patients with MRSA bloodstream infections who were treated with vancomycin between January 2005 and May 2007. The inclusion criteria were as follows: at least 18 years old, nonneutropenic, with an MRSA culture that met the CDC criteria for bloodstream infection, had received vancomycin therapy within 48 h of the index blood culture, and survived >24 h after vancomycin administration. Failure was defined as 30-day mortality, bacteremia ≥10 days on vancomycin therapy, or a recurrence of MRSA bacteremia within 60 days of vancomycin discontinuation. Classification and regression tree (CART) analysis identified the vancomycin MIC breakpoint associated with an increased probability of failure. During the study period, 92 patients met the inclusion criteria. The vancomycin MIC breakpoint derived by CART analysis was ≥1.5 mg/liter. The 66 patients with vancomycin MICs of ≥1.5 mg/liter had a 2.4-fold increase in failure compared to patients with MICs of ≤1.0 mg/liter (36.4% and 15.4%, respectively; P = 0.049). In the Poisson regression, a vancomycin MIC of ≥1.5 mg/liter was independently associated with failure (adjusted risk ratio, 2.6; 95% confidence interval, 1.3 to 5.4; P = 0.01). These data strongly suggest that patients with MRSA bloodstream infections with vancomycin MICs of ≥1.5 mg/liter respond poorly to vancomycin. Alternative anti-MRSA therapies should be considered for these patients.
PMCID: PMC2533486  PMID: 18591266
23.  Evolution of a Vancomycin-Intermediate Staphylococcus aureus Strain In Vivo: Multiple Changes in the Antibiotic Resistance Phenotypes of a Single Lineage of Methicillin-Resistant S. aureus under the Impact of Antibiotics Administered for Chemotherapy 
Journal of Clinical Microbiology  2003;41(4):1687-1693.
A number of methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) isolates were recovered over a period of several weeks from blood samples and from the heart valve of a patient who underwent extensive vancomycin chemotherapy for persistent S. aureus bacteremia. Consecutive isolates showed gradually decreasing growth rates during in vitro cultivation and increasing vancomycin MICs, from an MIC of 1 μg/ml for the initial isolate to an MIC of 8 μg/ml for the final MRSA isolates, which also became tolerant to vancomycin. Major changes were observed in the oxacillin resistance phenotype of several of the isolates—apparently related to in vivo exposure to imipenem, which was also used during a period of chemotherapy. Both the gradually increasing vancomycin MICs and the changes in oxacillin resistance could be reproduced by appropriate exposure of the initial MRSA isolate to antibiotics in vitro. All isolates had the same pulsed-field gel electrophoresis pattern, spaA type, and multilocus sequence type (MLST), which was identified as a single-locus variant of ST5, the MLST characteristic of previously characterized MRSA isolates with reduced susceptibility to vancomycin in the United States and Japan.
PMCID: PMC153915  PMID: 12682161
24.  An Association Between Bacterial Genotype Combined With a High-Vancomycin Minimum Inhibitory Concentration and Risk of Endocarditis in Methicillin-Resistant Staphylococcus aureus Bloodstream Infection 
Methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) CC22 isolates with reduced vancomycin susceptibility and an increased association with endocarditis have emerged on a background of population vancomycin minimum inhibitory concentration creep and a successful MRSA control program.
Introduction. Antimicrobial resistance and bacterial virulence factors may increase the risk of hematogenous complications during methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) bloodstream infection (BSI). This study reports on the impact of increasing vancomycin minimum inhibitory concentrations (V-MICs) and MRSA clone type on risk of hematogenous complications from MRSA BSI during implementation of an effective MRSA control program.
Methods. In sum, spa typing, staphylococcal cassette chromosome mec allotyping, and vancomycin and teicoplanin MICs were performed on 821 consecutive MRSA bloodstream isolates from 1999 to 2009. Prospectively collected data, including focus of infection, were available for 695 clinically significant cases. Logistic and multinomial logistic regression was used to determine the association between clone type, vancomycin MIC (V-MIC), and focus of infection.
Results. MRSA BSIs decreased by ∼90% during the 11 years. Typing placed isolates into 3 clonal complex (CC) groups that had different population median V-MICs (CC30, 0.5 μg/mL [n = 349]; CC22, 0.75 μg/mL [n = 272]; non-CC22/30, 1.5 μg/mL [n = 199]). There was a progressive increase in the proportion of isolates with a V-MIC above baseline median in each clonal group and a disproportionate fall in the clone group with lowest median V-MIC (CC30). In contrast, there were no increases in teicoplanin MICs. High V-MIC CC22 isolates (1.5–2 μg/mL) were strongly associated with endocarditis (odds ratio, 12; 95% confidence interval, 3.72–38.9) and with a septic metastasis after catheter-related BSI (odds ratio, 106; 95% confidence interval, 12.6–883) compared with other clone type/V-MIC combinations.
Conclusions. An interaction between clone type and V-MIC can influence the risk of endocarditis associated with MRSA BSI, implying involvement of both therapeutic and host-pathogen factors.
PMCID: PMC3275756  PMID: 22186774
25.  A Report on The First Case of Vancomycin-Intermediate Staphylococcus aureus (VISA) in Hawai‘i 
Hawaii Medical Journal  2011;70(11):233-236.
The state of Hawai‘i has the highest prevalence of methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) infection in the United States. Since vancomycin is the most frequently-prescribed antibiotic for healthcare-associated MRSA infection, there is concern for development of vancomycin resistance. We report on a 61 year-old woman with history of previous successful treatments of MRSA bacteremia with vancomycin. She was later hospitalized for catheter-related MRSA bacteremia that persisted despite vancomycin treatment. The vancomycin minimal inhibitory concentration (MIC) was initially 1–2 µg/ml, suggesting susceptibility, but changed to 4µg/ml. At this level, the organism was classified as a vancomycin-intermediate Staphylococcus aureus (VISA). Therapy was changed from vancomycin to daptomycin, and the patient's blood cultures were sterilized. High suspicion of VISA should be raised in MRSA-infected patients who fail or have a history of vancomycin therapy so that additional susceptibility testing and appropriate antibiotic therapy can be promptly commenced to reduce the morbidity associated with VISA infection.
PMCID: PMC3215986  PMID: 22162601

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