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.
We investigated the hypothesis that methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) isolates developing reduced susceptibilities to daptomycin (DAP; a calcium-dependent molecule acting as a cationic antimicrobial peptide [CAP]) may also coevolve reduced in vitro susceptibilities to host defense cationic antimicrobial peptides (HDPs). Ten isogenic pairs of clinical MRSA DAP-susceptible/DAP-resistant (DAPs/DAPr) strains were tested against two distinct HDPs differing in structure, mechanism of action, and origin (thrombin-induced platelet microbicidal proteins [tPMPs] and human neutrophil peptide-1 [hNP-1]) and one bacterium-derived CAP, polymyxin B (PMB). Seven of 10 DAPr strains had point mutations in the mprF locus (with or without yyc operon mutations), while three DAPr strains had neither mutation. Several phenotypic parameters previously associated with DAPr were also examined: cell membrane order (fluidity), surface charge, and cell wall thickness profiles. Compared to the 10 DAPs parental strains, their respective DAPr strains exhibited (i) significantly reduced susceptibility to killing by all three peptides (P < 0.05), (ii) increased cell membrane fluidity, and (iii) significantly thicker cell walls (P < 0.0001). There was no consistent pattern of surface charge profiles distinguishing DAPs and DAPr strain pairs. Reduced in vitro susceptibility to two HDPs and one bacterium-derived CAP tracked closely with DAPr in these 10 recent MRSA clinical isolates. These results suggest that adaptive mechanisms involved in the evolution of DAPr also provide MRSA with enhanced survivability against HDPs. Such adaptations appear to correlate with MRSA variations in cell membrane order and cell wall structure. DAPr strains with or without mutations in the mprF locus demonstrated significant cross-resistance profiles to these unrelated CAPs.
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.
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.
Persistent MRSA bacteremia (PB) represents an important subset of Staphylococcus aureus infections and correlates with poor clinical outcomes.
We profiled relevant in vitro phenotypic and genotypic characteristics of MRSA isolates from 39 persons with bacteremia (21 had PB and 18 had resolving bacteremia [RB]). We also compared the intrinsic virulence and responsiveness to vancomycin of selected PB and RB strains in an experimental endocarditis model (IE).
PB and RB isolates differed significantly with regard to several in vitro characteristics that are believed to impact endovascular infections. PB isolates exhibited significantly more resistance to the cationic defensin hNP-1, enhanced membrane fluidity, and substantially greater adhesion to fibronectin, fibrinogen, and endothelial cells. Genotypically, PB isolates had higher frequency of SCCmec II, CC30, and spa 16; and higher rates of agr type III, cap8, tst-1, and cna carriage. Finally, a prototypic PB strain was more resistant to vancomycin treatment in the infective endocarditis model than a RB comparator strain, despite equivalent virulence profiles.
Our findings indicate that PB isolates may have specific virulence signatures that distinguish them from RB isolates. These data suggest that methods might be developed to identify patients at higher risk for PB in real-time, thereby optimizing the effectiveness of anti-MRSA therapeutic strategies.
Thrombin-induced platelet microbicidal protein-1 (tPMP-1) and human neutrophil defensin-1 (HNP-1) are small, cationic antimicrobial peptides. These peptides exert potent in vitro microbicidal activity against a broad spectrum of human pathogens, including Staphylococcus aureus. Evidence suggests that tPMP-1 and HNP-1 target and disrupt the bacterial membrane. However, it is not yet clear whether membrane disruption itself is sufficient to kill the bacterium or whether subsequent, presumably intracellular, events are also involved in killing. We investigated the staphylocidal activities of tPMP-1 and HNP-1 in the presence or absence of pretreatment with antibiotics that differ in their mechanisms of action. The staphylocidal effects of tPMP-1 and HNP-1 on control cells (no antibiotic pretreatment) were rapid and concentration dependent. Pretreatment of S. aureus with either penicillin or vancomycin (bacterial cell wall synthesis inhibitors) significantly enhanced the anti-S. aureus effects of tPMP-1 compared with the effects against the respective control cells over the entire tPMP-1 concentration range tested (P < 0.05). Similarly, S. aureus cells pretreated with these antibiotics were more susceptible to HNP-1 than control cells, although the difference in the effects against cells that received penicillin pretreatment did not reach statistical significance (P < 0.05 for cells that received vancomycin pretreatment versus effects against control cells). Studies with isogenic pairs of strains with normal or deficient autolytic enzyme activities demonstrated that enhancement of S. aureus killing by cationic peptides and cell wall-active agents could not be ascribed to a predominant role of autolytic enzyme activation. Pretreatment of S. aureus cells with tetracycline, a 30S ribosomal subunit inhibitor, significantly decreased the staphylocidal effect of tPMP-1 over a wide peptide concentration range (0.16 to 1.25 μg/ml) (P < 0.05). Furthermore, pretreatment with novobiocin (an inhibitor of bacterial DNA gyrase subunit B) and with azithromycin, quinupristin, or dalfopristin (50S ribosomal subunit protein synthesis inhibitors) essentially blocked the S. aureus killing resulting from exposure to tPMP-1 or HNP-1 at most concentrations compared with the effects against the respective control cells (P < 0.05 for a tPMP-1 concentration range of 0.31 to 1.25 μg/ml and for an HNP-1 concentration range of 6.25 to 50 μg/ml). These findings suggest that tPMP-1 and HNP-1 exert anti-S. aureus activities through mechanisms involving both the cell membrane and intracellular targets.
Platelet microbicidal proteins (PMPs) are believed to be integral to host defense against endovascular infection. We previously demonstrated that susceptibility to thrombin-induced PMP 1 (tPMP-1) in vitro negatively influences Candida albicans virulence in the rabbit model of infective endocarditis (IE). This study evaluated the relationship between in vitro tPMP-1 susceptibility (tPMP-1s) or resistance (tPMP-1r) and efficacy of fluconazole (FLU) therapy of IE due to C. albicans. Candida IE was established in rabbits with either tPMP-1s or tPMP-1r strains. Treatment groups received FLU (100 mg/kg/day) intraperitoneally for 7 or 14 days; control animals received no therapy. At these time points, cardiac vegetations, kidneys, and spleens were quantitatively cultured to assess fungal burden. At both 7 and 14 days and in all target tissues, the extent of candidal clearance by FLU was greater in animals infected with the tPMP-1s strain than in those infected with the tPMP-1r strain. These differences were statistically significant in the spleen and kidney. Corroborating these in vivo data, FLU (a candidastatic agent), in combination with tPMP-1, exerted an enhanced fungicidal effect in vitro against tPMP-1s and tPMP-1r C. albicans, with the extent of this effect greatest against the tPMP-1s strain. Collectively, these results support the concept that tPMP-1 susceptibility contributes to the net efficacy of FLU against C. albicans IE in vivo, particularly in tissues in which platelets and tPMP-1 likely play significant roles in host defense.
Several lines of evidence indicate that platelets protect against endovascular infections such as infective endocarditis (IE). It is highly likely that a principal mechanism of this platelet host defense role is the release of platelet microbicidal proteins (PMPs) in response to agonists generated at sites of endovascular infection. We studied the ability of platelets to limit the colonization and proliferation of Staphylococcus aureus in an in vitro model of IE. Three isogenic S. aureus strains, differing in their in vitro susceptibility to thrombin-induced platelet microbicidal protein-1 (tPMP), were used: ISP479C (parental strain; highly susceptible to tPMP [tPMPs]); ISP479R (transposon mutant derived from ISP479; tPMP resistant [tPMPr]); or 757-5 (tPMPr transductant of the ISP479R genotype in the ISP479 parental background). Time-kill assays and in vitro IE models were used to examine the temporal relationship between thrombin-induced platelet activation and S. aureus killing. In time-kill studies, early platelet activation (30 min prior to bacterial exposure) correlated with a significant bactericidal effect against tPMPs ISP479C (r2 > 0.90, P < 0.02) but not against tPMPr strains, ISP479R or 757-5. In the IE model, thrombin activation significantly inhibited proliferation of ISP479C within simulated vegetations compared to strains ISP479R or 757-5 (P < 0.05). The latter differences were observed despite there being no detectable differences among the three S. aureus strains in initial colonization of simulated vegetations. Collectively, these data indicate that platelets limit intravegetation proliferation of tPMPs but not tPMPr S. aureus. These findings underscore the likelihood that platelets play an important antimicrobial host defense role in preventing and/or limiting endovascular infections due to tPMPs pathogens.
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.
Thrombin-induced platelet microbicidal protein (tPMP-1) is a small, cationic peptide released from rabbit platelets exposed to thrombin in vitro. tPMP-1 is microbicidal against a broad spectrum of bloodstream pathogens, including Staphylococcus aureus. Preliminary evidence suggests that tPMP-1 targets and disrupts the staphylococcal cytoplasmic membrane. However, it is not clear if the cytoplasmic membrane is a direct or indirect target of tPMP-1. Therefore, we assessed the in vitro activity of tPMP-1 versus protoplasts prepared from logarithmic-phase (LOG) or stationary-phase (STAT) cells of the genetically related S. aureus strains 19S and 19R (tPMP-1 susceptible and resistant, respectively). Protoplasts exposed to tPMP-1 (2 microg/ml) for 2 h at 37 degrees C were monitored for lysis (decrease in optical density at 420 nm) and ultrastructural alterations (by transmission electron microscopy [TEM]). Exposure to tPMP-1 resulted in substantial lysis of LOG but not STAT protoplasts of 19S, coinciding with protoplast membrane disruption observed by TEM. Thus, it appears that tPMP-1-induced membrane damage is influenced by the bacterial growth phase but is independent of the staphylococcal cell wall. In contrast to 19S, neither LOG nor STAT protoplasts of 19R were lysed by tPMP-1. tPMP-1-induced membrane damage was further characterized with anionic planar lipid bilayers subjected to various trans-negative voltages. tPMP-1 increased conductance across bilayers at -90 mV but not at -30 mV. Once initiated, a reduction in voltage from -90 to -30 mV diminished conductance magnitude but did not eliminate tPMP-1-mediated membrane permeabilization. Therefore, tPMP-1 appears to directly target the staphylococcal cytoplasmic membrane as a primary event in its mechanism of action. Specifically, tPMP-1 likely leads to staphylococcal death, at least in part by permeabilizing the bacterial membrane in a voltage-dependent manner.
Thrombin-induced platelet microbicidal protein 1 (tPMP-1) is a small, cationic peptide released from rabbit platelets following thrombin stimulation. In vitro resistance to this peptide among strains of Staphylococcus aureus correlates with the survival advantage of such strains at sites of endothelial damage in humans as well as in experimental endovascular infections. The mechanisms involved in the phenotypic resistance of S. aureus to tPMP-1 are not fully delineated. The plasmid-encoded staphylococcal gene qacA mediates multidrug resistance to multiple organic cations via a proton motive force-dependent efflux pump. We studied whether the qacA gene might also confer resistance to cationic tPMP-1. Staphylococcal plasmids encoding qacA were found to confer resistance to tPMP-1 in an otherwise susceptible parental strain. Deletions which removed the region containing the qacA gene in the S. aureus multiresistance plasmid pSK1 abolished tPMP-1 resistance. Resistance to tPMP-1 in the qacA-bearing strains was inoculum independent but peptide concentration dependent, with the level of resistance decreasing at higher peptide concentrations for a given inoculum. There was no apparent cross-resistance in qacA-bearing strains to other endogenous cationic antimicrobial peptides which are structurally distinct from tPMP-1, including human neutrophil defensin 1, protamine, or the staphylococcal lantibiotics pep5 and nisin. These data demonstrate that the staphylococcal multidrug resistance gene qacA also mediates in vitro resistance to cationic tPMP-1.
Loss of agr function, vancomycin exposure, and abnormal autolysis have been linked with both development of the GISA phenotype and low-level resistance in vitro to thrombin-induced platelet microbicidal proteins (tPMPs). We examined the potential in vitro interrelationships among these parameters in well-characterized, isogenic laboratory-derived and clinical Staphylococcus aureus isolates. The laboratory-derived S. aureus strains included RN6607 (agrII-positive parent) and RN6607V (vancomycin-passaged variant; hetero-GISA), RN9120 (RN6607 agr::tetM; agr II knockout parent), RN9120V (vancomycin-passaged variant), and RN9120-GISA (vancomycin passaged, GISA). Two serial isolates from a vancomycin-treated patient with recalcitrant, methicillin-resistant S. aureus (MRSA) endocarditis were also studied: A5937 (agrII-positive initial isolate) and A5940 (agrII-defective/hetero-GISA isolate obtained after prolonged vancomycin administration). In vitro tPMP susceptibility phenotypes were assessed after exposure of strains to either 1 or 2 μg/ml. Triton X-100- and vancomycin-induced lysis profiles were determined spectrophotometrically. For agrII-intact strain RN6607, vancomycin exposure in vitro was associated with modest increases in vancomycin MICs and reduced killing by tPMP, but no change in lysis profiles. In contrast, vancomycin exposure of agrII-negative RN9120 yielded a hetero-GISA phenotype and was associated with defects in lysis and reduced in vitro killing by tPMP. In the clinical isolates, loss of agrII function during prolonged vancomycin therapy was accompanied by emergence of the hetero-GISA phenotype and reduced tPMP killing, with no significant change in lysis profiles. An association was identified between loss of agrII function and the emergence of hetero-GISA phenotype during either in vitro or in vivo vancomycin exposure. In vitro, these events were associated with defective lysis and reduced susceptibility to tPMP. The precise mechanism(s) underlying these findings is the subject of current investigations.
Thrombin-induced platelet microbicidal protein (tPMP) is secreted by rabbit platelets following thrombin stimulation, and it kills common endovascular pathogens in vitro, including Staphylococcus aureus. Therefore, pathogens which exhibit tPMP resistance in vitro possess a potential survival advantage in vivo at sites of endovascular damage. We generated an isogenic S. aureus strain pair, differing in tPMP susceptibility, by transposon (Tn551) mutagenesis of a tPMP-susceptible (tPMPs) parental strain (ISP479) to derive a stably tPMP-resistant (tPMPr) strain, ISP479R. ISP479 and ISP479R were equivalent in vitro in the following phenotypes: biotyping, antiobiograms, platelet adherence and aggregation, growth kinetics, cell wall-associated protein A expression, and fibrinogen binding. Genotypic comparisons of chromosomal DNA of strains ISP479 and ISP479R following restriction endonuclease digestion revealed indistinguishable pulsed-field gel electrophoretic patterns. The genotype exhibited by strain ISP479R was linked to the tPMP-resistant phenotype, as it was transducible into the initially tPMP-susceptible parental strain, ISP479. Southern hybridization verified the presence of a single copy of Tn551 in the same chromosomal restriction site of both ISP479R and tPMPr transductants of ISP479. The correlation of in vitro tPMP susceptibility phenotypes with the ability to induce experimental endocarditis (a prototypical endovascular infection) was evaluated. Despite equivalent rates of endocarditis induction, animals infected with strain ISP479R achieved significantly higher vegetation bacterial densities over a 7-day post-challenge period than did animals infected with strain ISP479. These data suggest that tPMPr microbial strains have a selective advantage in experimental staphylococcal endocarditis. Furthermore, the major impact of tPMP resistance upon endocarditis pathogenesis appears to involve a postvalvular adherence event(s), most probably by facilitating bacterial proliferation within vegetations.
Persistent methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) bacteremia is known to be a poor prognostic factor. While several PCR assays for the detection of MRSA in various clinical samples were recently reported, the possibility that a quantitative PCR assay could be used to quantify and monitor MRSA bacteremia has not been explored. In this study, we established a quantitative real-time PCR assay for the mecA gene using known copy numbers of a plasmid containing mecA DNA as a standard and the previously described mecA-specific primers and probe (P. Francois et al., J. Clin. Microbiol. 41:254-260, 2003). We employed this assay to examine 250 sequential whole-blood samples from 20 adult patients, including 13 survivors and 7 nonsurvivors, with culture-proven MRSA bacteremia at the intensive care units of National Taiwan University Hospital between 1 July 2006 and 31 January 2007. The levels of mecA DNA in the nonsurvivors were significantly higher than those in the survivors during the three periods of bacteremia examined (days 0 to 2, 3 to 5, and 6 to 8) (P = 0.003 by two-tailed Mann-Whitney U test). Moreover, the nonsurvivors had higher mecA DNA levels than the survivors after 3 days and 7 days of anti-MRSA therapy (medians for nonsurvivors and survivors at 3 days, 5.86 and 4.30 log copies/ml, respectively; medians for nonsurvivors and survivors at 7 days, 5.21 and 4.36 log copies/ml, respectively; P = 0.02 and P = 0.04, respectively, by two-tailed Mann-Whitney U test). Together, these findings suggest that the level of mecA DNA in blood could potentially be used to monitor MRSA bacteremia and evaluate responses to therapy.
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.
methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus; bacteremia; endocarditis; daptomycin
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.
The DltABCD and MprF proteins contribute a net positive charge to the Staphylococcus aureus surface envelope by alanylating and lysinylating teichoic acids and membrane phosphatidylglycerol, respectively. These surface charge modifications are associated with increased in vitro resistance profiles of S. aureus to a number of endogenous cationic antimicrobial peptides (CAPs), such as α-defensins. The current study investigated the effects of dltA and mprF mutations on the following host factors relevant to endovascular infections: (i) in vitro susceptibility to the CAP thrombin-induced platelet microbicidal protein 1 (tPMP-1), (ii) in vitro adherence to endothelial cells (EC) and matrix proteins, and (iii) in vivo virulence in an endovascular infection model (rabbit endocarditis) in which tPMP-1 is felt to play a role in limiting S. aureus pathogenesis. Both mutations resulted in substantial increases in the in vitro susceptibility to tPMP-1 compared to that of the parental strain. The dltA (but not the mprF) mutation resulted in a significantly reduced capacity to bind to EC in vitro, while neither mutation adversely impacted in vitro binding to fibronectin, fibrinogen, or platelets. In vivo, both mutations significantly attenuated virulence in terms of early colonization of sterile vegetations and subsequent proliferation at this site (versus the parental strain). However, only the dltA mutation significantly reduced metastatic infections in kidneys and spleens compared to those in animals infected with the parental strain. These data underscore the importance of resistance to distinct CAPs and of teichoic acid-dependent EC interactions in the context of endovascular infection pathogenesis.
Low-level vancomycin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (vancomycin-intermediate S. aureus [VISA] and heterogenous VISA [hVISA]) is increasingly reported and leads to glycopeptide treatment failure. Various phenotypic features have been reported for these isolates, but the genetic changes leading to hVISA and VISA have yet to be clearly determined. We assessed phenotypic, antibiotic resistance, and genomic changes by using genomic DNA microarray comparison and sequencing of selected loci in five pairs of clinical hVISA/VISA strains and the initial methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) isolates obtained prior to vancomycin therapy. The isolates were from adult patients in Australia and New Zealand who had persistent MRSA bacteremia (>7 days) while receiving vancomycin therapy. In all cases, the initial isolates were found to be fully vancomycin-susceptible Staphylococcus aureus (VSSA). The hVISA/VISA phenotype was associated with increased cell wall thickness, reduced autolytic activity in four of five hVISA/VISA strains, and a striking reduction in biofilm formation compared to the parent strains in all pairs. All five pairs appeared to be isogenic, and genomic DNA microarray comparison suggested that major genetic changes are not required for the development of the resistant phenotype in these strains. No sequence differences were found in the agr locus or the tcaRA genes for any pair, but a marked reduction in RNAIII expression was found in four pairs. In summary, hVISA/VISA arises from fully VSSA during persistent infection that fails to respond to glycopeptide therapy and is associated with significant phenotypic changes, including a marked reduction in biofilm-forming ability. These clinically derived pairs of isolates will be a useful resource to elucidate the genetic mechanism of resistance in hVISA/VISA strains.
The high prevalence of methicillin-resistant S. aureus (MRSA) has led clinicians to select antibiotics that have coverage against MRSA, usually vancomycin, for empiric therapy for suspected staphylococcal infections. Clinicians often continue vancomycin started empirically even when methicillin-susceptible S. aureus (MSSA) strains are identified by culture. However, vancomycin has been associated with poor outcomes such as nephrotoxicity, persistent bacteremia and treatment failure. The objective of this study was to compare the effectiveness of vancomycin versus the beta-lactam antibiotics nafcillin and cefazolin among patients with MSSA bacteremia. The outcome of interest for this study was 30-day in-hospital mortality.
This retrospective cohort study included all adult in-patients admitted to a tertiary-care facility between January 1, 2003 and June 30, 2007 who had a positive blood culture for MSSA and received nafcillin, cefazolin or vancomycin. Cox proportional hazard models were used to assess independent mortality hazards comparing nafcillin or cefazolin versus vancomycin. Similar methods were used to estimate the survival benefits of switching from vancomycin to nafcillin or cefazolin versus leaving patients on vancomycin. Each model included statistical adjustment using propensity scores which contained variables associated with an increased propensity to receive vancomycin.
267 patients were included; 14% (38/267) received nafcillin or cefazolin, 51% (135/267) received both vancomycin and either nafcillin or cefazolin, and 35% (94/267) received vancomycin. Thirty (11%) died within 30 days. Those receiving nafcillin or cefazolin had 79% lower mortality hazards compared with those who received vancomycin alone (adjusted hazard ratio (HR): 0.21; 95% confidence interval (CI): 0.09, 0.47). Among the 122 patients who initially received vancomycin empirically, those who were switched to nafcillin or cefazolin (66/122) had 69% lower mortality hazards (adjusted HR: 0.31; 95% CI: 0.10, 0.95) compared to those who remained on vancomycin.
Receipt of nafcillin or cefazolin was protective against mortality compared to vancomycin even when therapy was altered after culture results identified MSSA. Convenience of vancomycin dosing may not outweigh the potential benefits of nafcillin or cefazolin in the treatment of MSSA bacteremia.
Staphylococcus aureus virulence factors may determine infection presentation. Whether SCCmec type-associated factors play a role in S. aureus bacteremia is unclear. We conducted a prospective observation of adult inpatients with S. aureus bacteremia (1 November 2005 to 31 December 2006), performed SCCmec typing of methicillin-resistant S. aureus (MRSA) isolates, and stratified the results according to SCCmec type. We studied 253 patients. MRSA accounted for 163 (64.4%) cases. The illness severity index was similar in MRSA and methicillin-sensitive S. aureus (MSSA) cases. MRSA caused higher in-hospital mortality (23.9% versus 8.9%; P = 0.003), longer bacteremia (4.7 ± 6.5 days versus 2.7 ± 2.9 days; P = 0.01), but similar metastatic infection (14.7% versus 15.6%). Stratifying the results according to SCCmec type revealed significant differences. SCCmec type II caused highest mortality (33.3%) versus type IVa (13.5%), other MRSA (12.5%), and MSSA (8.9%). SCCmec IVa produced the highest metastatic infection (26.9% versus 9.1% [SCCmec II], 8.3% [other MRSA], and 15.6% [MSSA]). Persistent bacteremia (≥7 days) was similar in all SCCmec types (16.7 to 20.7%); each exceeded MSSA (6.7%; P = 0.05). In multivariate analysis, SCCmec II was a predictor of mortality (odds ratio [OR] = 3.73; 95% confidence interval [CI] = 1.81 to 7.66; P = 0.009), SCCmec IVa was a predictor of metastatic infection (OR = 3.52; CI = 1.50 to 8.23; P = 0.004), and MRSA (independent of SCCmec type) was a predictor of persistent bacteremia (OR = 4.16; CI = 1.47 to 11.73; P = 0.007). These findings suggest that SCCmec-associated virulence factors play a role in the outcome of S. aureus bacteremia. Additional studies are needed to identify which virulence factors are the determinants of increased mortality with SCCmec type II and metastatic infection with SCCmec type IVa.
Imipenem-cilastatin was evaluated for efficacy and toxicity as an antistaphylococcal agent in 23 patients; 11 of these patients were infected with methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA), and 12 were infected with methicillin-susceptible S. aureus (MSSA). There were 15 soft tissue, 5 endovascular, and 3 skeletal infections and a total of nine patients with bacteremia. As determined by in vitro susceptibility testing, the MICs for 90% of the MRSA and MSSA isolates tested were 6.25 and 0.39 micrograms/ml, respectively. Two MRSA isolates were resistant to a concentration of greater than 16 micrograms/ml. When 11 MRSA isolates and 7 MSSA isolates were incubated for 48 h the MICs for 90% of the isolates increased to greater than 50 micrograms/ml for the MRSA isolates and 6.25 micrograms/ml for the MSSA isolates. Three S. aureus isolates emerged resistant. Ten of 11 (91%) MRSA infections and 11 of 12 (92%) MSSA infections were clinically cured. Adverse reactions occurred in 25% of the imipenemcilastatin-treated patients. These reactions included gastrointestinal intolerance (7% of the patients), rash or pruritis (6%), eosinophilia (6%), thrombocytosis (4%), and a positive, direct Coomb test without hemolysis (3%). One of the two patients for whom therapy was discontinued because of gastrointestinal intolerance had antibiotic-associated colitis. Imipenem appears to be an effective antistaphylococcal agent against both MRSA and MSSA infections.
Thrombin-induced platelet microbicidal protein (tPMP) exerts potent in vitro microbicidal activity against pathogens commonly found in the bloodstream, including Staphylococcus aureus, Staphylococcus epidermidis, and Candida albicans. Localized platelet release of tPMP may be important in defense against infections involving the vascular endothelium caused by tPMP-susceptible organisms. In contrast, pathogens capable of surviving in the presence of tPMP could then exploit the platelet as an adhesive surface for attachment to damaged endothelium. To examine these hypotheses, we derived a tPMP-resistant (tPMP(r)) C. albicans strain from its tPMP-sensitive (tPMP(s)) parental strains were equivalent in vitro as assessed by genotyping (electrophoretic karyotype and restriction endonuclease analysis of genomic DNA), biotyping, germination, platelet aggregation, adherence to vascular endothelial cells, and growth characteristics. In addition, the tPMP(r) phenotype was stable following multiple in vitro and in vivo passages. We then investigated the in vivo relevance of tPMP susceptibility on endovascular infection using a rabbit model of endocarditis and hematogenous dissemination. Rabbits with transaortic catheters (n = 15 in each group) were challenged with either the tPMP(s) or tPMP(r) C. albicans strain. All rabbits developed C. albicans-induced endocarditis, as determined by the presence of infected vegetations. In rabbits challenged with tPMP(s) strain (P < 0.001). These results were seen in the absence of differences in either initial adherence of strains to cardiac valves or vegetation weights. Furthermore, although these C. albicans strains induced equivalent rates and extent of hematogenous renal infection, only the tPMP(r) strain disseminated hematogenously to the spleen (15 of 15 rabbits) versus 0 of 15 [tpmp(s) strain]; P < 0.0001). Thus, tPMP(r) C. albicans caused more-severe endocarditis and produced greater metastatic sequelae than the tPMP(s) counterpart.
To define the incidence and risk factors for methicillin resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) bacteremia in an urban HIV-infected population.
A retrospective cohort study and nested, case-control analyses set in an urban HIV outpatient clinic in Baltimore.
Over a four-year period (2000–2004) the incidence of Staphylococcus aureus bacteremia (SAB) was determined from an electronic database of blood culture results. Risk factors for MRSA bacteremia were assessed over a five-year period (2000–2005) using methicillin sensitive Staphylococcus aureus (MSSA) bacteremia and bacteremia-free controls.
Of 4,607 patients followed for a total of 11,020 person-years (PY) of follow-up, 216 episodes of SAB occurred (incidence: 19.6 cases per 1000 PY.) Of these, 94 cases (43.5%) were methicillin-resistant (MRSA bacteremia incidence: 8.5 per 1000 PY.) The incidence of MRSA bacteremia increased from 5.3 per 1000 PY in 2000–01 to 11.9 per 1000 PY in 2003–04 (p = 0.001). Significant risk factors for MRSA bacteremia included injection drug use (IDU) [Adjusted Odds Ratio (AOR) = 4.61 (95% CI: 2.32–20.72)], end-stage renal disease (ESRD) [7.78 (2.92–20.72)], and CD4 count <200 cells/mm3 at the event. Patients with MRSA were more likely to have ESRD [AOR = 2.89 (1.12–7.49)] and greater immunosuppression than those with MSSA bacteremia.
The incidence of MRSA bacteremia increased from 2000 to 2004 in our HIV-infected cohort. Our data suggest that initial therapy for S. aureus bacteremia in HIV-infected patients, particularly in those with MRSA bacteremia risk factors, may require antimicrobial agents active against MRSA.
HIV; MRSA; Staphylococcus aureus; Bacteremia
Many antimicrobial peptides permeabilize the bacterial cytoplasmic membrane. However, it is unclear how membrane permeabilization and antimicrobial activity are related for distinct peptides. This study investigated the relationship between Staphylococcus aureus membrane permeabilization and cell death due to the following antistaphylococcal peptides: thrombin-induced platelet microbicidal protein 1 (tPMP-1), gramicidin D, and protamine. Isogenic S. aureus strains ISP479C and ISP479R (tPMP-1 susceptible and resistant, respectively), were loaded with the fluorochrome calcein and exposed to a range of concentrations of each peptide. Flow cytometry was then used to monitor membrane permeabilization by quantifying the release of preloaded calcein. Killing was determined by quantitative culture at time points simultaneous to measurement of membrane permeabilization. Membrane permeabilization and killing caused by tPMP-1 occurred in a time- and concentration-dependent manner, reflecting the intrinsic tPMP-1 susceptibilities of ISP479C and ISP479R. In comparison, gramicidin D killed both S. aureus strains to equivalent extents in a concentration-dependent manner between 0.5 to 50 μg/ml, but cell permeabilization only occurred at the higher peptide concentrations (25 and 50 μg/ml). Protamine permeabilized, but did not kill, either strain at concentrations up to 10 mg/ml. Regression analyses revealed different relationships between membrane permeabilization and staphylocidal activity for the distinct antimicrobial peptides. Taken together, these findings demonstrate that permeabilization, per se, does not invariably result in staphylococcal death due to distinct antimicrobial peptides. Thus, although each of these peptides interacts with the S. aureus cytoplasmic membrane, diversity exists in their mechanisms of action with respect to the relationship between membrane permeabilization and staphylocidal activity.
Platelet microbicidal proteins (PMPs) are small, cationic peptides which possess potent microbicidal activities against common bloodstream pathogens, such as Staphylococcus aureus. We previously showed that S. aureus strains exhibiting resistance to thrombin-induced PMP (tPMP-1) in vitro have an enhanced capacity to cause human and experimental endocarditis (T. Wu, M. R. Yeaman, and A. S. Bayer, Antimicrob. Agents Chemother. 38:729–732, 1994; A. S. Bayer et al., Antimicrob. Agents Chemother. 42:3169–3172, 1998; V. K. Dhawan et al., Infect. Immun. 65:3293–3299, 1997). However, the mechanisms mediating tPMP-1 resistance in S. aureus are not fully delineated. The S. aureus cell membrane appears to be a principal target for the action of tPMP-1. To gain insight into the basis of tPMP-1 resistance, we compared several parameters of membrane structure and function in three tPMP-1-resistant (tPMP-1r) strains and their genetically related, tPMP-1-susceptible (tPMP-1s) counterpart strains. The tPMP-1r strains were derived by three distinct methods: transposon mutagenesis, serial passage in the presence of tPMP-1 in vitro, or carriage of a naturally occurring multiresistance plasmid (pSK1). All tPMP-1r strains were found to possess elevated levels of longer-chain, unsaturated membrane lipids, in comparison to their tPMP-1s counterparts. This was reflected in corresponding differences in cell membrane fluidity in the strain pairs, with tPMP-1r strains exhibiting significantly higher degrees of fluidity as assessed by fluorescence polarization. These data provide further support for the concept that specific alterations in the cytoplasmic membrane of S. aureus strains are associated with tPMP-1 resistance in vitro.