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1.  In Vitro Sensitivity of Salmonella to Ten Antimicrobial Agents Including Sulfamethoxazole and Trimethoprim, Alone and in Combination 
The activities of trimethoprim (TMP) and sulfamethoxazole (SMZ), alone and in combination (SMZ-TMP), and of the following antibiotics were tested against 115 clinical isolates of nontyphoid Salmonella species: tobramycin, gentamicin, ampicillin, amoxicillin, neomycin, kanamycin, chloramphenicol, and tetracycline. The methods of disk diffusion, microtiter broth dilution, and agar dilution were employed for all single antimicrobial agents as well as for SMZ-TMP studies. Growth curves were performed in broth. SMZ-TMP, TMP, gentamicin, tobramycin, and neomycin were the most active drugs in vitro. All strains were inhibited by ≤1 μg of TMP per ml, but >100 μg of SMZ per ml was required for at least 10% of strains. SMZ and TMP in a ratio of 10:0.5, respectively, inhibited all isolates and were synergistic for 105 strains. All strains inhibited by the combination of 10:0.5 SMZ-TMP had a zone diameter of ≥22 mm by using a combination disk containing 1.25 μg of TMP and 23.75 μg of SMZ. Seven isolates were resistant to >100 μg/ml of ampicillin or amoxicillin; all isolates were sensitive to chloramphenicol at ≤6.3 μg/ml. SMZ-TMP appears to be active against nontyphoid salmonellae in vitro; this is usually due to a synergistic effect.
PMCID: PMC444594  PMID: 4791490
2.  Antimicrobial Susceptibility of Udder Pathogens Isolated from Dairy Herds in the West Littoral Region of Uruguay 
Acta Veterinaria Scandinavica  2002;43(1):31-41.
A total of 522 strains belonging to streptococci, enterococci and staphylococci isolated from sub-clinical and clinical cases of bovine mastitis from the west littoral region of Uruguay were analysed for their susceptibility to several antimicrobial agents. The susceptibility patterns were studied by agar disk diffusion methods (ADDM) and broth micro-dilution to determine the minimum inhibitory concentration (MIC). The concentration that inhibits 90% (MIC90) of the analysed strains reported in micrograms per millilitre, for Staphylococcus aureus were > 8, 8, ≤ 0.5, ≤ 4, ≤ 1, ≤ 0.5, > 64, ≤ 0.25, 0.5, ≤ 1 and ≤ 1 to penicillin, ampicillin, oxacillin, cephalotin, gentamicin, erythromycin, oxitetracycline, enrofloxacin, trimethoprim/sulfamethoxazole, neomycin, and clindamycin, respectively. Coagulase-negative staphylococci (CNS) had different values for penicillin (4) and ampicillin (2), while the other antimicrobial agents had the same MIC90 values as reported for S. aureus. The MIC90 values for streptococci were 0.12, 0.25, ≤ 4, 16, ≤ 0.25, 0.5, 0.25 for penicillin, ampicillin, cephalotin, gentamicin, erythromycin, oxytetracycline and trimethoprim-sulfamethoxazole, whereas MIC90 for enterococci were 4, 4, 4, ≤ 0.5, 2, > 8 for penicillin, ampicillin, gentamicin, erythromycin, oxytetracycline and trimethoprim-sulfamethoxazole, respectively. Of 336 strains of S. aureus, 160 (47.6%) were resistant to penicillin. For 41 CNS strains, 10 (27%) presented penicillin-resistance. All the streptococcal strains were susceptible to penicillin, while 3 (7%) of the 43 enteroccocal strains were resistant. Non significant statistical differences were found between the results obtained by ADDM and broth micro-dilution for classifying bacterial isolates as susceptible or resistant according to the National Committee of Clinical Laboratory Standards.
PMCID: PMC1764182  PMID: 12071114
cow; mammary qland; bacteria; resistant; sensitive
3.  Asynchronous magnetic bead rotation (AMBR) micro-viscometer for rapid, sensitive and label-free studies of bacterial growth and drug sensitivity 
Analytical Chemistry  2012;84(12):5250-5256.
The long turnaround time in antimicrobial susceptibility testing (AST) endangers patients and encourages the administration of wide spectrum antibiotics, thus resulting in alarming increases of multi-drug resistant pathogens. A method for faster detection of bacterial proliferation presents one avenue towards addressing this global concern. We report on a label-free asynchronous magnetic bead rotation (AMBR) based viscometry method that rapidly detects bacterial growth and determines drug sensitivity by measuring changes in the suspension’s viscosity. With this platform, we observed the growth of a uropathogenic Escherichia coli isolate, with an initial concentration of 50 cells per drop, within 20 minutes; in addition, we determined the gentamicin minimum inhibitory concentration (MIC) of the E. coli isolate within 100 minutes. We thus demonstrated a label-free, micro-viscometer platform that can measure bacterial growth and drug susceptibility more rapidly, with lower initial bacterial counts than existing commercial systems, and potentially with any microbial strains.
PMCID: PMC3381929  PMID: 22507307
4.  Antimicrobial Susceptibility and Synergy Studies of Stenotrophomonas maltophilia Isolates from Patients with Cystic Fibrosis 
Stenotrophomonas maltophilia is a newly emerging pathogen being detected with increasing frequency in patients with cystic fibrosis (CF). The impact of this multidrug-resistant organism on lung function is uncertain. The optimal treatment for S. maltophilia in CF patients is unknown. We studied the in vitro activity of ten antimicrobial agents, and conducted synergy studies by using checkerboard dilutions of eight pairs of antimicrobial agents against strains isolated from 673 CF patients from 1996 to 2001. This represents approximately 7 to 23% of the CF patients in the United States who harbor S. maltophilia annually. Doxycycline was the most active agent and inhibited 80% of 673 initial patient isolates, while trimethoprim-sulfamethoxazole inhibited only 16%. High concentrations of colistin proved more active than high concentrations of tobramycin and gentamicin. Serial isolates (n = 151) from individual patients over time (median, 290 days) showed minimal changes in resistance. Synergistic or additive activity was demonstrated by trimethoprim-sulfamethoxazole paired with ticarcillin-clavulanate (65% of strains), ciprofloxacin paired with ticarcillin-clavulanate (64% of strains), ciprofloxacin paired with piperacillin-tazobactam (59% of strains), trimethoprim-sulfamethoxazole paired with piperacillin-tazobactam (55% of strains), and doxycycline paired with ticarcillin-clavulanate (49% of strains). In all, 522 (78%) isolates were multidrug resistant (i.e., resistant to all agents in two or more antimicrobial classes) but 473 (91%) of these were inhibited by at least one antimicrobial combination (median, four; range, one to eight). To determine appropriate treatment for patients with CF, it is important to monitor the prevalence, antimicrobial susceptibility, and clinical impact of S. maltophilia in this patient population.
PMCID: PMC310154  PMID: 14693535
5.  Surveillance of antimicrobial resistance at a tertiary hospital in Tanzania 
BMC Public Health  2004;4:45.
Antimicrobial resistance is particularly harmful to infectious disease management in low-income countries since expensive second-line drugs are not readily available. The objective of this study was to implement and evaluate a computerized system for surveillance of antimicrobial resistance at a tertiary hospital in Tanzania.
A computerized surveillance system for antimicrobial susceptibility (WHONET) was implemented at the national referral hospital in Tanzania in 1998. The antimicrobial susceptibilities of all clinical bacterial isolates received during an 18 months' period were recorded and analyzed.
The surveillance system was successfully implemented at the hospital. This activity increased the focus on antimicrobial resistance issues and on laboratory quality assurance issues. The study identified specific nosocomial problems in the hospital and led to the initiation of other prospective studies on prevalence and antimicrobial susceptibility of bacterial infections. Furthermore, the study provided useful data on antimicrobial patterns in bacterial isolates from the hospital. Gram-negative bacteria displayed high rates of resistance to common inexpensive antibiotics such as ampicillin, tetracycline and trimethoprim-sulfamethoxazole, leaving fluoroquinolones as the only reliable oral drugs against common Gram-negative bacilli. Gentamicin and third generation cephalosporins remain useful for parenteral therapy.
The surveillance system is a low-cost tool to generate valuable information on antimicrobial resistance, which can be used to prepare locally applicable recommendations on antimicrobial use. The system pinpoints relevant nosocomial problems and can be used to efficiently plan further research. The surveillance system also functions as a quality assurance tool, bringing attention to methodological issues in identification and susceptibility testing.
PMCID: PMC526372  PMID: 15476559
6.  Molecular Analysis of and Identification of Antibiotic Resistance Genes in Clinical Isolates of Salmonella typhi from India 
Journal of Clinical Microbiology  1998;36(6):1595-1600.
A representative sample of 21 Salmonella typhi strains isolated from cultures of blood from patients at the Christian Medical College and Hospital, Vellore, India, were tested for their susceptibilities to various antimicrobial agents. Eleven of the S. typhi strains possessed resistance to chloramphenicol (256 mg/liter), trimethoprim (64 mg/liter), and amoxicillin (>128 mg/liter), while four of the isolates were resistant to each of these agents except for amoxicillin. Six of the isolates were completely sensitive to all of the antimicrobial agents tested. All the S. typhi isolates were susceptible to cephalosporin agents, gentamicin, amoxicillin plus clavulanic acid, and imipenem. The antibiotic resistance determinants in each S. typhi isolate were encoded by one of four plasmid types. Plasmid-mediated antibiotic resistance genes were identified with specific probes in hybridization experiments; the genes responsible for chloramphenicol, trimethoprim, and ampicillin resistance were chloramphenicol acetyltransferase type I, dihydrofolate reductase type VII, and TEM-1 β-lactamase, respectively. Pulsed-field gel electrophoresis analysis of XbaI-generated genomic restriction fragments identified a single distinct profile (18 DNA fragments) for all of the resistant isolates. In comparison, six profiles, different from each other and from the resistance profile, were recognized among the sensitive isolates. It appears that a single strain containing a plasmid conferring multidrug-resistance has emerged within the S. typhi bacterial population in Vellore and has been able to adapt to and survive the challenge of antibiotics as they are introduced into clinical medicine.
PMCID: PMC104883  PMID: 9620383
7.  Metamodels for Transdisciplinary Analysis of Wildlife Population Dynamics 
PLoS ONE  2013;8(12):e84211.
Wildlife population models have been criticized for their narrow disciplinary perspective when analyzing complexity in coupled biological – physical – human systems. We describe a “metamodel” approach to species risk assessment when diverse threats act at different spatiotemporal scales, interact in non-linear ways, and are addressed by distinct disciplines. A metamodel links discrete, individual models that depict components of a complex system, governing the flow of information among models and the sequence of simulated events. Each model simulates processes specific to its disciplinary realm while being informed of changes in other metamodel components by accessing common descriptors of the system, populations, and individuals. Interactions among models are revealed as emergent properties of the system. We introduce a new metamodel platform, both to further explain key elements of the metamodel approach and as an example that we hope will facilitate the development of other platforms for implementing metamodels in population biology, species risk assessments, and conservation planning. We present two examples – one exploring the interactions of dispersal in metapopulations and the spread of infectious disease, the other examining predator-prey dynamics – to illustrate how metamodels can reveal complex processes and unexpected patterns when population dynamics are linked to additional extrinsic factors. Metamodels provide a flexible, extensible method for expanding population viability analyses beyond models of isolated population demographics into more complete representations of the external and intrinsic threats that must be understood and managed for species conservation.
PMCID: PMC3862810  PMID: 24349567
8.  Inhibitory activity of cranberry juice on adherence of type 1 and type P fimbriated Escherichia coli to eucaryotic cells. 
Inhibition of bacterial adherence to bladder cells has been assumed to account for the beneficial action ascribed to cranberry juice and cranberry juice cocktail in the prevention of urinary tract infections (A. E. Sobota, J. Urol. 131:1013-1016, 1984). We have examined the effect of the cocktail and juice on the adherence of Escherichia coli expressing surface lectins of defined sugar specificity to yeasts, tissue culture cells, erythrocytes, and mouse peritoneal macrophages. Cranberry juice cocktail inhibited the adherence of urinary isolates expressing type 1 fimbriae (mannose specific) and P fimbriae [specific for alpha-D-Gal(1----4)-beta-D-Gal] but had no effect on a diarrheal isolate expressing a CFA/I adhesin. The cocktail also inhibited yeast agglutination by purified type 1 fimbriae. The inhibitory activity for type 1 fimbriated E. coli was dialyzable and could be ascribed to the fructose present in the cocktail; this sugar was about 1/10 as active as methyl alpha-D-mannoside in inhibiting the adherence of type 1 fimbriated bacteria. The inhibitory activity for the P fimbriated bacteria was nondialyzable and was detected only after preincubation of the bacteria with the cocktail. Cranberry juice, orange juice, and pineapple juice also inhibited adherence of type 1 fimbriated E. coli, most likely because of their fructose content. However, the two latter juices did not inhibit the P fimbriated bacteria. We conclude that cranberry juice contains at least two inhibitors of lectin-mediated adherence of uropathogens to eucaryotic cells. Further studies are required to establish whether these inhibitors play a role in vivo.
PMCID: PMC171427  PMID: 2653218
9.  Synergistic Activity of Gentamicin with Trimethoprim or Sulfamethoxazole-Trimethoprim Against Escherichia coli and Klebsiella pneumoniae 
The effect of combinations of gentamicin with trimethoprim or sulfamethoxazole-trimethoprim against clinical isolates of Escherichia coli (11 strains) and Klebsiella pneumoniae (12 strains) was examined by using a microdilution checkerboard technique. All isolates were susceptible to each antimicrobial agent. Synergism, defined as at least a 2-log2-dilution lowering of the minimal inhibitory concentration of either antibiotic in the combination compared with the minimal inhibitory concentration of the antibiotic alone, was observed with 15 of 23 (65%) isolates tested against trimethoprim and gentamicin and 14 of 23 (61%) isolates tested against sulfamethoxazole-trimethoprim and gentamicin. A 3-log2-dilution lowering of the minimal inhibitory concentration of either antibiotic was observed in 7 of 23 (30%) trimethoprim and gentamicin trials and 3 of 23 (13%) sulfamethoxazole-trimethoprim and gentamicin trials. Antagonism was observed in 3 of 46 combination trials and only with strains of K. pneumoniae.
PMCID: PMC352530  PMID: 365085
10.  Combination of Alpha-Melanocyte Stimulating Hormone with Conventional Antibiotics against Methicillin Resistant Staphylococcus aureus 
PLoS ONE  2013;8(9):e73815.
Our previous studies revealed that alpha-melanocyte stimulating hormone (α-MSH) is strongly active against Staphylococcus aureus (S. aureus) including methicillin resistant S. aureus (MRSA). Killing due to α-MSH occurred by perturbation of the bacterial membrane. In the present study, we investigated the in vitro synergistic potential of α-MSH with five selected conventional antibiotics viz., oxacillin (OX), ciprofloxacin (CF), tetracycline (TC), gentamicin (GM) and rifampicin (RF) against a clinical MRSA strain which carried a type III staphylococcal cassette chromosome mec (SCCmec) element and belonged to the sequence type (ST) 239. The strain was found to be highly resistant to OX (minimum inhibitory concentration (MIC) = 1024 µg/ml) as well as to other selected antimicrobial agents including α-MSH. The possibility of the existence of intracellular target sites of α-MSH was evaluated by examining the DNA, RNA and protein synthesis pathways. We observed a synergistic potential of α-MSH with GM, CF and TC. Remarkably, the supplementation of α-MSH with GM, CF and TC resulted in ≥64-, 8- and 4-fold reductions in their minimum bactericidal concentrations (MBCs), respectively. Apart from membrane perturbation, in this study we found that α-MSH inhibited ∼53% and ∼47% DNA and protein synthesis, respectively, but not RNA synthesis. Thus, the mechanistic analogy between α-MSH and CF or GM or TC appears to be the reason for the observed synergy between them. In contrast, α-MSH did not act synergistically with RF which may be due to its inability to inhibit RNA synthesis (<10%). Nevertheless, the combination of α-MSH with RF and OX showed an enhanced killing by ∼45% and ∼70%, respectively, perhaps due to the membrane disrupting properties of α-MSH. The synergistic activity of α-MSH with antibiotics is encouraging, and promises to restore the lost potency of discarded antibiotics.
PMCID: PMC3767696  PMID: 24040081
11.  Therapeutic Potential of the Antimicrobial Peptide OH-CATH30 for Antibiotic-Resistant Pseudomonas aeruginosa Keratitis 
The therapeutic potential of antimicrobial peptides (AMPs) has been evaluated in many infectious diseases. However, the topical application of AMPs for ocular bacterial infection has not been well investigated. The AMP OH-CATH30, which was identified in the king cobra, exhibits potent antimicrobial activity. In this study, we investigated the therapeutic potential of OH-CATH30 for Pseudomonas aeruginosa keratitis. Ten isolates of P. aeruginosa from individuals with keratitis were susceptible to OH-CATH30 but not to cefoperazone, ciprofloxacin, gentamicin, and levofloxacin. The microdilution checkerboard assay showed that OH-CATH30 exhibited synergistic activity with ciprofloxacin and levofloxacin against antibiotic-resistant P. aeruginosa. Meanwhile, P. aeruginosa did not develop resistance to OH-CATH30, even after exposure at 0.5× the MIC for up to 25 subcultures. Furthermore, treatment with OH-CATH30, alone or in combination with levofloxacin, significantly improved the clinical outcomes of rabbit keratitis induced by antibiotic-resistant P. aeruginosa. Taken together, our data indicate that the topical application of OH-CATH30 is efficacious against drug-resistant P. aeruginosa keratitis. In addition, our study highlights the potential application of AMPs in treating ocular bacterial infections.
PMCID: PMC4068471  PMID: 24637683
12.  Anticancer activity of an extract from needles and twigs of Taxus cuspidata and its synergistic effect as a cocktail with 5-fluorouracil 
Botanical medicines are increasingly combined with chemotherapeutics as anticancer drug cocktails. This study aimed to assess the chemotherapeutic potential of an extract of Taxus cuspidata (TC) needles and twigs produced by artificial cuttage and its co-effects as a cocktail with 5-fluorouracil (5-FU).
Components of TC extract were identified by HPLC fingerprinting. Cytotoxicity analysis was performed by MTT assay or ATP assay. Apoptosis studies were analyzed by H & E, PI, TUNEL staining, as well as Annexin V/PI assay. Cell cycle analysis was performed by flow cytometry. 5-FU concentrations in rat plasma were determined by HPLC and the pharmacokinetic parameters were estimated using 3p87 software. Synergistic efficacy was subjected to median effect analysis with the mutually nonexclusive model using Calcusyn1 software. The significance of differences between values was estimated by using a one-way ANOVA.
TC extract reached inhibition rates of 70-90% in different human cancer cell lines (HL-60, BGC-823, KB, Bel-7402, and HeLa) but only 5-7% in normal mouse T/B lymphocytes, demonstrating the broad-spectrum anticancer activity and low toxicity to normal cells of TC extract in vitro. TC extract inhibited cancer cell growth by inducing apoptosis and G2/M cell cycle arrest. Most interestingly, TC extract and 5-FU, combined as a cocktail, synergistically inhibited the growth of cancer cells in vitro, with Combination Index values (CI) ranging from 0.90 to 0.26 at different effect levels from IC50 to IC90 in MCF-7 cells, CI ranging from 0.93 to 0.13 for IC40 to IC90 in PC-3M-1E8 cells, and CI < 1 in A549 cells. In addition, the cocktail had lower cytotoxicity in normal human cell (HEL) than 5-FU used alone. Furthermore, TC extract did not affect the pharmacokinetics of 5-FU in rats.
The combinational use of the TC extract with 5-FU displays strong cytotoxic synergy in cancer cells and low cytotoxicity in normal cells. These findings suggest that this cocktail may have a potential role in cancer treatment.
PMCID: PMC3260134  PMID: 22132732
13.  Multiresistant Uropathogenic Escherichia coli from a Region in India Where Urinary Tract Infections Are Endemic: Genotypic and Phenotypic Characteristics of Sequence Type 131 Isolates of the CTX-M-15 Extended-Spectrum-β-Lactamase-Producing Lineage 
Antimicrobial Agents and Chemotherapy  2012;56(12):6358-6365.
Escherichia coli sequence type 131 (O25b:H4), associated with the CTX-M-15 extended-spectrum beta-lactamases (ESBLs) and linked predominantly to the community-onset antimicrobial-resistant infections, has globally emerged as a public health concern. However, scant attention is given to the understanding of the molecular epidemiology of these strains in high-burden countries such as India. Of the 100 clinical E. coli isolates obtained by us from a setting where urinary tract infections are endemic, 16 ST131 E. coli isolates were identified by multilocus sequence typing (MLST). Further, genotyping and phenotyping methods were employed to characterize their virulence and drug resistance patterns. All the 16 ST131 isolates harbored the CTX-M-15 gene, and half of them also carried TEM-1; 11 of these were positive for blaOXA groups 1 and 12 for aac(6′)-Ib-cr. At least 12 isolates were refractory to four non-beta-lactam antibiotics: ciprofloxacin, gentamicin, sulfamethoxazole-trimethoprim, and tetracycline. Nine isolates carried the class 1 integron. Plasmid analysis indicated a large pool of up to six plasmids per strain with a mean of approximately three plasmids. Conjugation and PCR-based replicon typing (PBRT) revealed that the spread of resistance was associated with the FIA incompatibility group of plasmids. Pulsed-field gel electrophoresis (PFGE) and genotyping of the virulence genes showed a low level of diversity among these strains. The association of ESBL-encoding plasmid with virulence was demonstrated in transconjugants by serum assay. None of the 16 ST131 ESBL-producing E. coli strains were known to synthesize carbapenemase enzymes. In conclusion, our study reports a snapshot of the highly virulent/multiresistant clone ST131 of uropathogenic E. coli from India. This study suggests that the ST131 genotypes from this region are clonally evolved and are strongly associated with the CTX-M-15 enzyme, carry a high antibiotic resistance background, and have emerged as an important cause of community-acquired urinary tract infections.
PMCID: PMC3497203  PMID: 23045357
14.  Antimicrobial-resistant Klebsiella species isolated from free-range chicken samples in an informal settlement 
Sub-therapeutic doses of antimicrobial agents are administered routinely to poultry to aid growth and to prevent disease, with prolonged exposure often resulting in bacterial resistance. Crossover of antibiotic resistant bacteria from poultry to humans poses a risk to human health.
Material and methods
In this study, 17 chicken samples collected from a vendor operating in an informal settlement in the Cape Town Metropolitan area, South Africa were screened for antimicrobial-resistant Gram-negative bacilli using the Kirby Bauer disk diffusion assay.
In total, six antibiotics were screened: ampicillin, ciprofloxacin, gentamicin, nalidixic acid, tetracycline and trimethoprim. Surprisingly, Klebsiella ozaenae was identified in 96 and K. rhinoscleromatis in 6 (n=102) of the samples tested. Interestingly, ∼40% of the isolated Klebsiella spp. showed multiple resistance to at least three of the six antibiotics tested.
Klebsiella ozaenae and K. rhinoscleromatis cause clinical chronic rhinitis and are almost exclusively associated with people living in areas of poor hygiene.
PMCID: PMC3309434  PMID: 22457672
antibiotic-resistant; poultry; resistance; Klebsiella species
15.  Antibiotic-specific differences in the response of Staphylococcus aureus to treatment with antimicrobials combined with manuka honey 
Skin infections caused by antibiotic resistant Staphylococcus aureus are a significant health problem worldwide; often associated with high treatment cost and mortality rate. Complex natural products like New Zealand (NZ) manuka honey have been revisited and studied extensively as an alternative to antibiotics due to their potent broad-spectrum antimicrobial activity, and the inability to isolate honey-resistant S. aureus. Previous studies showing synergistic effects between manuka-type honeys and antibiotics have been demonstrated against the growth of one methicillin-resistant S. aureus (MRSA) strain. We have previously demonstrated strong synergistic activity between NZ manuka-type honey and rifampicin against growth and biofilm formation of multiple S. arueus strains. Here, we have expanded our investigation using multiple S. aureus strains and four different antibiotics commonly used to treat S. aureus-related skin infections: rifampicin, oxacillin, gentamicin, and clindamycin. Using checkerboard microdilution and agar diffusion assays with S. aureus strains including clinical isolates and MRSA we demonstrate that manuka-type honey combined with these four antibiotics frequently produces a synergistic effect. In some cases when synergism was not observed, there was a significant enhancement in antibiotic susceptibility. Some strains that were highly resistant to an antibiotic when present alone become sensitive to clinically achievable concentrations when combined with honey. However, not all of the S. aureus strains tested responded in the same way to these combinational treatments. Our findings support the use of NZ manuka-type honeys in clinical treatment against S. aureus-related infections and extend their potential use as an antibiotic adjuvant in combinational therapy. Our data also suggest that manuka-type honeys may not work as antibiotic adjuvants for all strains of S. aureus, and this may help determine the mechanistic processes behind honey synergy.
PMCID: PMC4307217
Medihoney; Staphylococcus aureus; manuka; antibiotic; synergy
16.  Antibiotic Resistance in Uropathogenic E. Coli Strains Isolated from Non-Hospitalized Patients in Pakistan 
Purpose: To study multidrug-resistance in Uropathogenic E. Coli (UPEC) isolated from non-hospitalized patients.
Materials and Methods: Altogether, 250 bacterial samples were collected from non-hospitalized patients. Their identifications were done on basis of Gram-staining, colony morphology, biochemical testing and PCR. Susceptibility testing was performed by using standard protocols which were recommended by CLSI.
Statistical analysis: For comparisons, statistical analysis was performed by using software, Graphpad Prism 5.0
Results: In total, 32% (n = 80) of the isolates were identified as E. Coli strains and their susceptibility patterns for different antibiotics were determined. The data indicated least resistance against tazocin [(TZP) -1.25%], amikacin [(AK) -1.8%], tigecycline [(TGC)- 2.5%] and nitrofurantoin [(F) -3.75%]. For both minocycline (MH) and sulzone (SUL), resistance rate was 5%, for gentamicin (CN), it was 16.25%, while higher resistances were observed against cephalothine [(KF)- 70%], cefotaxime [(CTX) -58.5%], ceftazidime [(CAZ)- 57.5%], cefepime [(FEP) -55%], cefuroxime and cefixime [(CXM) (CFM)- 53.75 %]. Resistance against ciprofloxacin (CIP) was 57.5%, for norfloxacine (NOR), it was 52.5% and incase of sparfloxacin (SPX), it remained 55%. High percentage of the isolates were resistant to cotrimoxazole [(SXT) -86%] and Amoxicillin [AMX-CLA (AMC)- 76%]. No resistance against meropenem (MEM) was observed.
Conclusion: Highest level of drug-resistance was observed against trimethoprim-sulfamethoxazole (TMP-SMZ) among clinical isolates of uropathogenic E. Coli collected from non-hospitalized patients.
PMCID: PMC4225882  PMID: 25386430
Antibiotic susceptibility; Beta-lactamase; Cotrimoxazole; E. Coli; Plasmids; UPEC
17.  Cross-species discovery of syncretic drug combinations that potentiate the antifungal fluconazole 
The authors screen for compounds that show synergistic antifungal activity when combined with the widely-used fungistatic drug fluconazole. Chemogenomic profiling explains the mode of action of synergistic drugs and allows the prediction of additional drug synergies.
The authors screen for compounds that show synergistic antifungal activity when combined with the widely-used fungistatic drug fluconazole. Chemogenomic profiling explains the mode of action of synergistic drugs and allows the prediction of additional drug synergies.
Chemical screens with a library enriched for known drugs identified a diverse set of 148 compounds that potentiated the action of the antifungal drug fluconazole against the fungal pathogens Cryptococcus neoformans, Cryptococcus gattii and Candida albicans, and the model yeast Saccharomyces cerevisiae, often in a species-specific manner.Chemogenomic profiles of six confirmed hits in S. cerevisiae revealed different modes of action and enabled the prediction of additional synergistic combinations; three-way synergistic interactions exhibited even stronger synergies at low doses of fluconazole.The synergistic combination of fluconazole and the antidepressant sertraline was active against fluconazole-resistant clinical fungal isolates and in an in vivo model of Cryptococcal infection.
Rising fungal infection rates, especially among immune-suppressed individuals, represent a serious clinical challenge (Gullo, 2009). Cancer, organ transplant and HIV patients, for example, often succumb to opportunistic fungal pathogens. The limited repertoire of approved antifungal agents and emerging drug resistance in the clinic further complicate the effective treatment of systemic fungal infections. At the molecular level, the paucity of fungal-specific essential targets arises from the conserved nature of cellular functions from yeast to humans, as well as from the fact that many essential yeast genes can confer viability at a fraction of wild-type dosage (Yan et al, 2009). Although only ∼1100 of the ∼6000 genes in yeast are essential, almost all genes become essential in specific genetic backgrounds in which another non-essential gene has been deleted or otherwise attenuated, an effect termed synthetic lethality (Tong et al, 2001). Genome-scale surveys suggest that over 200 000 binary synthetic lethal gene combinations dominate the yeast genetic landscape (Costanzo et al, 2010). The genetic buffering phenomenon is also manifest as a plethora of differential chemical–genetic interactions in the presence of sublethal doses of bioactive compounds (Hillenmeyer et al, 2008). These observations frame the difficulty of interdicting network functions in eukaryotic pathogens with single agent therapeutics. At the same time, however, this genetic network organization suggests that judicious combinations of small molecule inhibitors of both essential and non-essential targets may elicit additive or synergistic effects on cell growth (Sharom et al, 2004; Lehar et al, 2008). Unbiased screens for drugs that synergistically enhance a specific bioactive effect, but which are not themselves individually active—termed a syncretic combination—are one means to substantially elaborate chemical space (Keith et al, 2005). Indeed, compounds that enhance the activity of known agents in model yeast and cancer cell line systems have been identified both by focused small molecule library screens and by computational methods (Borisy et al, 2003; Lehar et al, 2007; Nelander et al, 2008; Jansen et al, 2009; Zinner et al, 2009).
To extend the stratagem of chemical synthetic lethality to clinically relevant fungal pathogens, we screened a bioactive library of known drugs for synergistic enhancers of the widely used fungistatic drug fluconazole against the clinically relevant pathogens C. albicans, C. neoformans and C. gattii, as well as the genetically tractable budding yeast S. cerevisiae. Fluconazole is an azole drug that inhibits lanosterol 14α-demethylase, the gene product of ERG11, an essential cytochrome P450 enzyme in the ergosterol biosynthetic pathway (Groll et al, 1998). We identified 148 drugs that potentiate the antifungal action of fluconazole against the four species. These syncretic compounds had not been previously recognized in the clinic as antifungal agents, and many acted in a species-specific manner, often in a potent fungicidal manner.
To understand the mechanisms of synergism, we interrogated six syncretic drugs—trifluoperazine, tamoxifen, clomiphene, sertraline, suloctidil and L-cycloserine—in genome-wide chemogenomic profiles of the S. cerevisiae deletion strain collection (Giaever et al, 1999). These profiles revealed that membrane, vesicle trafficking and lipid biosynthesis pathways are targeted by five of the synergizers, whereas the sphingolipid biosynthesis pathway is targeted by L-cycloserine. Cell biological assays confirmed the predicted membrane disruption effects of the former group of compounds, which may perturb ergosterol metabolism, impair fluconazole export by drug efflux pumps and/or affect active import of fluconazole (Kuo et al, 2010; Mansfield et al, 2010). Based on the integration of chemical–genetic and genetic interaction space, a signature set of deletion strains that are sensitive to the membrane active synergizers correctly predicted additional drug synergies with fluconazole. Similarly, the L-cycloserine chemogenomic profile correctly predicted a synergistic interaction between fluconazole and myriocin, another inhibitor of sphingolipid biosynthesis. The structure of genetic networks suggests that it should be possible to devise higher order drug combinations with even greater selectivity and potency (Sharom et al, 2004). In an initial test of this concept, we found that the combination of a non-synergistic pair drawn from the membrane active and sphingolipid target classes exhibited potent three-way synergism with a low dose of fluconazole. Finally, the combination of sertraline and fluconazole was active in a G. mellonella model of Cryptococcal infection, and was also efficacious against fluconazole-resistant clinical isolates of C. albicans and C. glabrata.
Collectively, these results demonstrate that the combinatorial redeployment of known drugs defines a powerful antifungal strategy and establish a number of potential lead combinations for future clinical assessment.
Resistance to widely used fungistatic drugs, particularly to the ergosterol biosynthesis inhibitor fluconazole, threatens millions of immunocompromised patients susceptible to invasive fungal infections. The dense network structure of synthetic lethal genetic interactions in yeast suggests that combinatorial network inhibition may afford increased drug efficacy and specificity. We carried out systematic screens with a bioactive library enriched for off-patent drugs to identify compounds that potentiate fluconazole action in pathogenic Candida and Cryptococcus strains and the model yeast Saccharomyces. Many compounds exhibited species- or genus-specific synergism, and often improved fluconazole from fungistatic to fungicidal activity. Mode of action studies revealed two classes of synergistic compound, which either perturbed membrane permeability or inhibited sphingolipid biosynthesis. Synergistic drug interactions were rationalized by global genetic interaction networks and, notably, higher order drug combinations further potentiated the activity of fluconazole. Synergistic combinations were active against fluconazole-resistant clinical isolates and an in vivo model of Cryptococcus infection. The systematic repurposing of approved drugs against a spectrum of pathogens thus identifies network vulnerabilities that may be exploited to increase the activity and repertoire of antifungal agents.
PMCID: PMC3159983  PMID: 21694716
antifungal; combination; pathogen; resistance; synergism
18.  Klebsiella species: antimicrobial susceptibilities, bactericidal kinetics, and in vitro inactivation of beta-lactam agents. 
In vitro properties of 19 antimicrobial agents were tested with 56 isolates of Klebsiella spp. The aminoglycosides and the new beta-lactam compounds cefotaxime and moxalactam were the most inhibitory drugs tested. Chloramphenicol, tetracycline, trimethoprim, and trimethoprim-sulfamethoxazole were moderately active, whereas piperacillin, mezlocillin, and furazlocillin were ineffective against 25% of the isolates. Gentamicin was the only agent tested that was uniformly bactericidal in time-kill experiments with drug concentrations of four times the minimal inhibitory concentration. In combination studies with gentamicin, moxalactam and furazlocillin each increased the rate of bacterial killing for three of five isolates as compared with gentamicin alone, whereas chloramphenicol significantly retarded the rate of bacterial killing for the same number of strains. Furazlocillin was completely inactivated after 24 h of incubation with each of five selected strains. The inactivation of moxalactam, cefoxitin, and cephalothin was 36, 56, and 72%, respectively. In all instances in which these four agents were inactivated to levels below the minimal bactericidal concentration, there was accelerated growth after initial inhibition. However, regrowth also occurred in three instances in which drug levels were higher than the minimal bactericidal concentration. Retesting after drug exposure revealed a 4- to 32-fold rise in the minimal inhibitory concentration and minimal bactericidal concentration in two of these isolates.
PMCID: PMC352982  PMID: 7235676
19.  Combining Cationic Liposomal Delivery with MPL-TDM for Cysteine Protease Cocktail Vaccination against Leishmania donovani : Evidence for Antigen Synergy and Protection 
With the paucity of new drugs and HIV co-infection, vaccination remains an unmet research priority to combat visceral leishmaniasis (VL) requiring strong cellular immunity. Protein vaccination often suffers from low immunogenicity and poor generation of memory T cells for long-lasting protection. Cysteine proteases (CPs) are immunogenic proteins and key mediators of cellular functions in Leishmania. Here, we evaluated the vaccine efficacies of CPs against VL, using cationic liposomes with Toll like receptor agonists for stimulating host immunity against L. donovani in a hamster model.
Methodology/Principal Findings
Recombinant CPs type I (cpb), II (cpa) and III (cpc) of L. donovani were tested singly and in combination as a triple antigen cocktail for antileishmanial vaccination in hamsters. We found the antigens to be highly immunoreactive and persistent anti-CPA, anti-CPB and anti-CPC antibodies were detected in VL patients even after cure. The liposome-entrapped CPs with monophosphoryl lipid A-Trehalose dicorynomycolate (MPL-TDM) induced significantly high nitric oxide (up to 4 fold higher than controls) mediated antileishmanial activity in vitro, and resulted in strong in vivo protection. Among the three CPs, CPC emerged as the most potent vaccine candidate in combating the disease. Interestingly, a synergistic increase in protection was observed with liposomal CPA, CPB and CPC antigenic cocktail which reduced the organ parasite burden by 1013–1016 folds, and increased the disease-free survival of >80% animals at least up to 6 months post infection. Robust secretion of IFN-γ and IL-12, along with concomitant downregulation of Th2 cytokines, was observed in cocktail vaccinates, even after 3 months post infection.
The present study is the first report of a comparative efficacy of leishmanial CPs and their cocktail using liposomal formulation with MPL-TDM against L. donovani. The level of protection attained has not been reported for any other subcutaneous single or polyprotein vaccination against VL.
Author Summary
Conventional chemotherapy of visceral leishmaniasis (VL) typically relies on pentavalent antimonials that suffer from extensive drug resistance in India. Development of preventive vaccination is undoubtedly a better alternative to completely eradicate the disease. With this in mind, we chose to target parasite cysteine proteases (CPs), with immense biological importance, as potential vaccine candidates against Leishmania donovani. Here, we describe the superior efficacy of an antigenic cocktail of type I, II and III CPs entrapped in cationic liposomes with Toll like receptor (TLR) agonists: monophosphoryl lipid A- Trehalose dicorynomycolate (MPL-TDM), against L. donovani in a hamster model. The three CPs acted synergistically in the cocktail to induce almost complete protection against Leishmania. The protection is chiefly mediated through upregulation of protective cytokines like interferon-gamma (IFN-γ), interleukin-12 (IL-12), IL-2, and tumour necrosis factor (TNF-α), with concomitant down-regulation of disease promoting cytokines, like transforming growth factor–beta (TGF-β), IL-10 and IL-4. The antigens were also compared singly for their protective potential. Interestingly, type III (CPC) CP emerged as the most potent antigenic component of the cocktail inducing better protection than type I and II. Hence, the cysteine proteases of Leishmania form an attractive group of vaccine candidates for future studies in human VL.
PMCID: PMC4140747  PMID: 25144181
20.  Identification of Virulence Factors Genes in Escherichia coli Isolates from Women with Urinary Tract Infection in Mexico 
BioMed Research International  2014;2014:959206.
E coli isolates (108) from Mexican women, clinically diagnosed with urinary tract infection, were screened to identify virulence genes, phylogenetic groups, and antibiotic resistance. Isolates were identified by MicroScan4 system; additionally, the minimum inhibitory concentration (MIC) was assessed. The phylogenetic groups and 16 virulence genes encoding adhesins, toxins, siderophores, lipopolysaccharide (LPS), and invasins were identified by PCR. Phylogenetic groups distribution was as follows: B1 9.3%, A 30.6%, B2 55.6%, and D 4.6%. Virulence genes prevalence was ecp 98.1%, fimH 86.1%, traT 77.8%, sfa/focDE 74.1%, papC 62%, iutA 48.1%, fyuA 44.4%, focG 2.8%, sfaS 1.9%, hlyA 7.4%, cnf-1 6.5%, cdt-B 0.9%, cvaC 2.8%, ibeA 2.8%, and rfc 0.9%. Regarding antimicrobial resistance it was above 50% to ampicillin/sulbactam, ampicillin, piperacillin, trimethoprim/sulfamethoxazole, ciprofloxacin, and levofloxacin. Uropathogenic E. coli clustered mainly in the pathogenic phylogenetic group B2. The isolates showed a high presence of siderophores and adhesion genes and a low presence of genes encoding toxins. The high frequency of papC gene suggests that these isolates have the ability to colonize the kidneys. High resistance to drugs considered as first choice treatment such as trimethoprim/sulfamethoxazole and fluoroquinolones was consistently observed.
PMCID: PMC4026957  PMID: 24895634
21.  Synergism between penicillin, clindamycin, or metronidazole and gentamicin against species of the Bacteroides melaninogenicus and Bacteroides fragilis groups. 
Clinical isolates of the Bacteroides melaninogenicus and Bacteroides fragilis groups were tested for in vitro and in vivo susceptibility to penicillin, clindamycin, and metronidazole, used singly or in combination with gentamicin. The in vitro tests consisted of determinations of minimal inhibitory concentrations (MICs) carried out with or without constant amounts of gentamicin. When used alone, gentamicin had negligible effects on the bacteria but significantly reduced the MICs of penicillin, clindamycin, and metronidazole against 11, 10, and 3, of the 15 strains of the B. melaninogenicus group, respectively. The 15 strains of the B. fragilis group were all beta-lactamase producers and were highly resistant to penicillin or the combination of penicillin and gentamicin. However, gentamicin reduced the MICs of clindamycin and metronidazole against 1 and 7 strains of this group, respectively. The in vivo tests were carried out in mice and consisted of measurements of the effects of the antimicrobial agents on the sizes and bacterial content of abscesses induced by subcutaneous injection of bacterial suspensions. The results of the in vivo tests were generally consistent with those obtained in vitro with strains of the B. melaninogenicus group. Synergism between gentamicin and penicillin, clindamycin, or metronidazole was shown in 13, 10, and 3 strains of this group, respectively. In vivo synergism was not clearly demonstrated with the strains of the B. fragilis group, possibly because clindamycin and metronidazole used alone were highly efficacious. We suggest that the synergistic effect of gentamicin is due to its increased transport into the bacterial cell in the presence of penicillin and, possibly, other antimicrobial agents. The newly recognized in vitro and in vivo synergism between penicillin and other antimicrobial agents and an aminoglycoside in B. melaninogenicus may have clinical implications that deserve to be investigated.
PMCID: PMC185438  PMID: 6142680
22.  Synergy of fosmidomycin (FR-31564) and other antimicrobial agents. 
Fosmidomycin (FR-31564), a phosphonic acid derivative, was combined with cefazolin, cephalexin, ampicillin, carbenicillin, ticarcillin, gentamicin, and trimethoprim. Synergy between fosmidomycin and penicillins or cephalosporins was found for 37 to 52% of the Enterobacteriaceae tested. Synergy with trimethoprim was found against 55% of bacteria isolated, but only 17% of the strains showed synergy between formidomycin and gentamicin. Synergy between fosmidomycin and ticarcillin was shown for 35% of the Pseudomonas isolates. Cefazolin-, ampicillin-, and gentamicin-resistant isolates of various species were synergistically inhibited by fosmidomycin, as were ticarcillin- and gentamicin-resistant isolates. Antagonism was not encountered. This study illustrates another example of synergistic activity of compounds which attack different mechanisms in bacterial cells.
PMCID: PMC183793  PMID: 7181471
23.  Antibacterial Activity of Novel Cationic Peptides against Clinical Isolates of Multi-Drug Resistant Staphylococcus pseudintermedius from Infected Dogs 
PLoS ONE  2014;9(12):e116259.
Staphylococcus pseudintermedius is a major cause of skin and soft tissue infections in companion animals and has zoonotic potential. Additionally, methicillin-resistant S. pseudintermedius (MRSP) has emerged with resistance to virtually all classes of antimicrobials. Thus, novel treatment options with new modes of action are required. Here, we investigated the antimicrobial activity of six synthetic short peptides against clinical isolates of methicillin-susceptible and MRSP isolated from infected dogs. All six peptides demonstrated potent anti-staphylococcal activity regardless of existing resistance phenotype. The most effective peptides were RRIKA (with modified C terminus to increase amphipathicity and hydrophobicity) and WR-12 (α-helical peptide consisting exclusively of arginine and tryptophan) with minimum inhibitory concentration50 (MIC50) of 1 µM and MIC90 of 2 µM. RR (short anti-inflammatory peptide) and IK8 “D isoform” demonstrated good antimicrobial activity with MIC50 of 4 µM and MIC90 of 8 µM. Penetratin and (KFF)3K (two cell penetrating peptides) were the least effective with MIC50 of 8 µM and MIC90 of 16 µM. Killing kinetics revealed a major advantage of peptides over conventional antibiotics, demonstrating potent bactericidal activity within minutes. Studies with propidium iodide and transmission electron microscopy revealed that peptides damaged the bacterial membrane leading to leakage of cytoplasmic contents and consequently, cell death. A potent synergistic increase in the antibacterial effect of the cell penetrating peptide (KFF)3K was noticed when combined with other peptides and with antibiotics. In addition, all peptides displayed synergistic interactions when combined together. Furthermore, peptides demonstrated good therapeutic indices with minimal toxicity toward mammalian cells. Resistance to peptides did not evolve after 10 passages of S. pseudintermedius at sub-inhibitory concentration. However, the MICs of amikacin and ciprofloxacin increased 32 and 8 fold, respectively; under similar conditions. Taken together, these results support designing of peptide-based therapeutics for combating MRSP infections, particularly for topical application.
PMCID: PMC4281220  PMID: 25551573
24.  Prevalence of antimicrobial resistance among bacterial pathogens isolated from cattle in different European countries: 2002–2004 
The project "Antibiotic resistance in bacteria of animal origin – II" (ARBAO-II) was funded by the European Union (FAIR5-QLK2-2002-01146) for the period 2003–2005, with the aim to establish a continuous monitoring of antimicrobial susceptibility among veterinary laboratories in European countries based on validated and harmonised methodologies. Available summary data of the susceptibility testing of the bacterial pathogens from the different laboratories were collected.
Antimicrobial susceptibility data for several bovine pathogens were obtained over a three year period (2002–2004). Each year the participating laboratories were requested to fill in excel-file templates with national summary data on the occurrence of antimicrobial resistance from different bacterial species.
A proficiency test (EQAS – external quality assurance system) for antimicrobial susceptibility testing was conducted each year to test the accuracy of antimicrobial susceptibility testing in the participating laboratories. The data from this testing demonstrated that for the species included in the EQAS the results are comparable between countries.
Data from 25,241 isolates were collected from 13 European countries. For Staphylococcus aureus from bovine mastitis major differences were apparent in the occurrence of resistance between countries and between the different antimicrobial agents tested. The highest frequency of resistance was observed for penicillin. For Mannheimia haemolytica resistance to ampicillin, tetracycline and trimethoprim/sulphonamide were observed in France, the Netherlands and Portugal. All isolates of Pasteurella multocida isolated in Finland and most of those from Denmark, England (and Wales), Italy and Sweden were susceptible to the majority of the antimicrobials. Streptococcus dysgalactiae and Streptococcus uberis isolates from Sweden were fully susceptible. For the other countries some resistance was observed to tetracycline, gentamicin and erythromycin. More resistance and variation of the resistance levels between countries were observed for Escherichia coli compared to the other bacterial species investigated.
In general, isolates from Denmark, England (and Wales), the Netherlands, Norway, Sweden and Switzerland showed low frequencies of resistance, whereas many isolates from Belgium, France, Italy, Latvia and Spain were resistant to most antimicrobials tested. In the future, data on the prevalence of resistance should be used to develop guidelines for appropriate antimicrobial use in veterinary medicine.
PMCID: PMC2486267  PMID: 18611246
25.  Uropathogenic Escherichia coli Modulates Immune Responses and Its Curli Fimbriae Interact with the Antimicrobial Peptide LL-37 
PLoS Pathogens  2010;6(7):e1001010.
Bacterial growth in multicellular communities, or biofilms, offers many potential advantages over single-cell growth, including resistance to antimicrobial factors. Here we describe the interaction between the biofilm-promoting components curli fimbriae and cellulose of uropathogenic E. coli and the endogenous antimicrobial defense in the urinary tract. We also demonstrate the impact of this interplay on the pathogenesis of urinary tract infections. Our results suggest that curli and cellulose exhibit differential and complementary functions. Both of these biofilm components were expressed by a high proportion of clinical E. coli isolates. Curli promoted adherence to epithelial cells and resistance against the human antimicrobial peptide LL-37, but also increased the induction of the proinflammatory cytokine IL-8. Cellulose production, on the other hand, reduced immune induction and hence delayed bacterial elimination from the kidneys. Interestingly, LL-37 inhibited curli formation by preventing the polymerization of the major curli subunit, CsgA. Thus, even relatively low concentrations of LL-37 inhibited curli-mediated biofilm formation in vitro. Taken together, our data demonstrate that biofilm components are involved in the pathogenesis of urinary tract infections by E. coli and can be a target of local immune defense mechanisms.
Author Summary
Most infections of the urinary tract are caused by uropathogenic E. coli. On abiotic surfaces, these bacteria are able to form biofilms, which protect them from various adverse environmental conditions. In this study, we sought to investigate whether two E. coli biofilm components, curli fimbriae and cellulose, provide a similar protection against innate immune defense mechanisms of the urinary tract. We put special emphasis on the interaction with the human antimicrobial peptide LL-37, which plays a crucial role in the protection against uropathogenic E. coli. We demonstrate that curli expression specifically reduces bacterial sensitivity to LL-37 by binding the peptide before reaching the bacterial cell membrane and exhibiting its bactericidal activity. A more general protection is mediated by cellulose, possibly by hiding immunogenic surface structures of the bacterium. In addition to providing protection, curli are also targeted by the immune system. The formation of new curli fibers is inhibited in the presence of LL-37. Moreover, curliated bacteria show higher immunogenicity than their non-curliated counterparts. Cellulose expression, on the other hand, appears to impair initial host colonization. In conclusion, our findings demonstrate an example of the tight interplay between bacterial virulence factors and the host immune defense.
PMCID: PMC2908543  PMID: 20661475

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