Beta defensins are small cationic antimicrobial peptides present in the respiratory system which have been proposed to be dysfunctional in the environment of the cystic fibrosis lung. Defb1, a murine homologue to the human beta defensins, has also been found to be expressed in the respiratory system and, in order to examine the function of beta defensins in vivo, gene targeting was used to generate Defb1-deficient (Defb1tm1Hgu/Defb1tm1Hgu [Defb1−/−]) mice. The Defb1 synthetic peptide was shown to have a salt-sensitive antimicrobial activity that was stronger against Staphylococcus aureus than against Escherichia coli or Pseudomonas aeruginosa. Defb1−/− mice were found, however, to be effective in the clearance of the cystic fibrosis relevant pathogen S. aureus from the airways after nebulization. Although no overt deleterious phenotype was evident in the Defb1−/− mice, the number of mutant mice found to harbor bacteria of the Staphylococcus species in the bladder was significantly higher (P = 0.008) than that of controls, suggesting a role for these peptides in resistance to urinary tract infection.
On-going airway inflammation is characteristic for the pathophysiology of chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD). However, the key factors determining the decrease in lung function, an important clinical parameter of COPD, are not clear. Genome-wide linkage analyses provide evidence for significant linkage to airway obstruction susceptibility loci on chromosome 8p23, the location of the human defensin gene cluster. Moreover, a genetic variation in the defensin beta 1 (DEFB1) gene was found to be associated with COPD. Therefore, we hypothesized that DEFB1 is differently regulated and expressed in human lungs during COPD progression. Gene expression of DEFB1 was assessed in bronchial epithelium and BAL fluid cells of healthy controls and patients with COPD and using bisulfite sequencing and ChIP analysis, the epigenetic control of DEFB1 mRNA expression was investigated. We can demonstrate that DEFB1 mRNA expression was significantly increased in bronchopulmonary specimen of patients with COPD (n = 34) vs. healthy controls (n = 10) (p<0.0001). Furthermore, a significant correlation could be detected between DEFB1 and functional parameters such as FEV1 (p = 0.0024) and the FEV1/VC ratio (p = 0.0005). Upregulation of DEFB1 mRNA was paralleled by changes in HDAC1-3, HDAC5 and HDAC8 mRNA expression. Whereas bisulfite sequencing revealed no differences in the methylation state of DEFB1 promoter between patients with COPD and controls, ChIP analysis showed that enhanced DEFB1 mRNA expression was associated with the establishment of an active histone code. Thus, expression of human DEFB1 is upregulated and related to the decrease in pulmonary function in patients with COPD.
DEFB4/103A encoding β-defensin 2 and 3, respectively, inhibit CXCR4-tropic (X4) viruses in vitro. We determined whether DEFB4/103A Copy Number Variation (CNV) influences time-to-X4 and time-to-AIDS outcomes.
We utilized samples from a previously published Multicenter AIDS Cohort Study (MACS), which provides longitudinal account of viral tropism in relation to the full spectrum of rates of disease progression. Using traditional models for time-to-event analysis, we investigated association between DEFB4/103A CNV and the two outcomes, and interaction between DEFB4/103A CNV and disease progression groups, Fast and Slow.
Time-to-X4 and time-to-AIDS were weakly correlated. There was a stronger relationship between these two outcomes for the fast progressors. DEFB4/103A CNV was associated with time-to-AIDS, but not time-to-X4. The association between higher DEFB4/103A CNV and time-to-AIDS was more pronounced for the slow progressors.
DEFB4/103A CNV was associated with time-to-AIDS in a disease progression group-specific manner in the MACS cohort. Our findings may contribute to enhancing current understanding of how genetic predisposition influences AIDS progression.
AIDS progression; β-Defensin; DEFB4; DEFB103A; MACS; X4 emergence
The beta-defensin gene cluster (DEFB) at chromosome 8p23.1 is one of the most copy number (CN) variable regions of the human genome. Whereas individual DEFB CNs have been suggested as independent genetic risk factors for several diseases (e.g. psoriasis and Crohn's disease), the role of multisite sequence variations (MSV) is less well understood and to date has only been reported for prostate cancer. Simultaneous assessment of MSVs and CNs can be achieved by PCR, cloning and Sanger sequencing, however, these methods are labour and cost intensive as well as prone to methodological bias introduced by bacterial cloning. Here, we demonstrate that amplicon sequencing of pooled individual PCR products by the 454 technology allows in-depth determination of MSV haplotypes and estimation of DEFB CNs in parallel.
Six PCR products spread over ~87 kb of DEFB and harbouring 24 known MSVs were amplified from 11 DNA samples, pooled and sequenced on a Roche 454 GS FLX sequencer. From ~142,000 reads, ~120,000 haplotype calls (HC) were inferred that identified 22 haplotypes ranging from 2 to 7 per amplicon. In addition to the 24 known MSVs, two additional sequence variations were detected. Minimal CNs were estimated from the ratio of HCs and compared to absolute CNs determined by alternative methods. Concordance in CNs was found for 7 samples, the CNs differed by one in 2 samples and the estimated minimal CN was half of the absolute in one sample. For 7 samples and 2 amplicons, the 454 haplotyping results were compared to those by cloning/Sanger sequencing. Intrinsic problems related to chimera formation during PCR and differences between haplotyping by 454 and cloning/Sanger sequencing are discussed.
Deep amplicon sequencing using the 454 technology yield thousands of HCs per amplicon for an affordable price and may represent an effective method for parallel haplotyping and CN estimation in small to medium-sized cohorts. The obtained haplotypes represent a valuable resource to facilitate further studies of the biomedical impact of highly CN variable loci such as the beta-defensin locus.
Human ß-defensins are a family of antimicrobial peptides located at the mucosal surface. Both sequence multi-site variations (MSV) and copy-number variants (CNV) of the defensin-encoding genes are associated with increased risk for various diseases, including cancer and inflammatory conditions such as psoriasis and acute pancreatitis. In a case–control study, we investigated the association between MSV in DEFB104 as well as defensin gene (DEF) cluster copy number (CN), and pancreatic ductal adenocarcinoma (PDAC) and chronic pancreatitis (CP).
Two groups of PDAC (N=70) and CP (N=60) patients were compared to matched healthy control groups CARLA1 (N=232) and CARLA2 (N=160), respectively. Four DEFB104 MSV were haplotyped by PCR, cloning and sequencing. DEF cluster CN was determined by multiplex ligation-dependent probe amplification.
Neither the PDAC nor the CP cohorts show significant differences in the DEFB104 haplotype distribution compared to the respective control groups CARLA1 and CARLA2, respectively.
The diploid DEF cluster CN exhibit a significantly different distribution between PDAC and CARLA1 (Fisher’s exact test P=0.027), but not between CP and CARLA2 (P=0.867).
Different DEF cluster b CN distribution between PDAC patients and healthy controls indicate a potential protective effect of higher CNs against the disease.
Defensins; Single nucleotide variants; Copy number variation; Chronic pancreatitis; Pancreatic ductal adenocarcinoma
Deregulation of the expression human beta defensin 1 (DEFB1), an antimicrobial peptide, has been implicated in the pathogenesis of COPD and asthma. Since the molecular mechanisms that regulate DEFB1 gene expression are widely unknown, the epigenetic processes involved in the regulation of the constitutive expression of DEFB1 in lung epithelial cells (A549) were investigated. The data demonstrate that histone deacetylases (HDACs) participate in the regulation of DEFB1 gene expression. Inhibition of the class I HDACs, HDACs 1-3, increases DEFB1 gene expression in A549 cells. Chromatin immunoprecipitation (ChIP) assays revealed that the inhibition of the class I HDACs also results in modifications of the chromatin at the DEFB1 promoter. Histone modifications, histone H3 acetylation and H3K4 trimethylation, that are associated with transcriptional activation, were found to increase after inhibition of HDACs 1-3. Finally, RNAi knockdown experiments identified HDAC1 as the sole HDAC responsible for maintaining the constitutive level of DEFB1 transcription. Taken together, our data reveal epigenetic mechanisms which are the basis of the maintenance of the constitutive gene expression of human beta defensin 1.
Analysis of the human beta defensin 1 promoter region in six human populations reveals a signature of balancing selection.
Defensins, small endogenous peptides with antimicrobial activity, are pivotal components of the innate immune response. A large cluster of defensin genes is located on human chromosome 8p; among them the beta defensin 1 (DEFB1) promoterhas been extensively studied since discovery that specific polymorphisms and haplotypes associate with asthma and atopy, susceptibility to severe sepsis, as well as HIV and Candida infection predisposition.
Here, we characterize the sequence variation and haplotype structure of the DEFB1 promoter region in six human populations. In all of them, we observed high levels of nucleotide variation, an excess of intermediate-frequency alleles, reduced population differentiation and a genealogy with common haplotypes separated by deep branches. Indeed, a significant departure from the expectation of evolutionary neutrality was observed in all populations and the possibility that this is due to demographic history alone was ruled out. Also, we verified that the selection signature is restricted to the promoter region and not due to a linked balanced polymorphism. A phylogeny-based estimation indicated that the two major haplotype clades separated around 4.5 million years ago, approximately the time when the human and chimpanzee lineages split.
Altogether, these features represent strong molecular signatures of long-term balancing selection, a process that is thought to be extremely rare outside major histocompatibility complex genes. Our data indicate that the DEFB1 promoter region carries functional variants and support previous hypotheses whereby alleles predisposing to atopic disorders are widespread in modern societies because they conferred resistance to pathogens in ancient settings.
In primates, infection is an important force driving gene evolution, and this is reflected in the importance of infectious disease in human morbidity today. The beta-defensins are key components of the innate immune system, with antimicrobial and cell signalling roles, but also reproductive functions. Here we examine evolution of beta-defensins in catarrhine primates and variation within different human populations.
We show that five beta-defensin genes that do not show copy number variation in humans show evidence of positive selection in catarrhine primates, and identify specific codons that have been under selective pressure. Direct haplotyping of DEFB127 in humans suggests long-term balancing selection: there are two highly diverged haplotype clades carrying different variants of a codon that, in primates, is positively selected. For DEFB132, we show that extensive diversity, including a four-state amino acid polymorphism (valine, isoleucine, alanine and threonine at position 93), is present in hunter-gatherer populations, both African and non-African, but not found in samples from agricultural populations.
Some, but not all, beta-defensin genes show positive selection in catarrhine primates. There is suggestive evidence of different selective pressures on these genes in humans, but the nature of the selective pressure remains unclear and is likely to differ between populations.
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
Human beta-defensin 2 (DEFB4, also known as DEFB2 or hBD-2) is a salt-sensitive antimicrobial protein that is expressed in lung epithelia. Previous work has shown that it is encoded in a cluster of beta-defensin genes at 8p23.1, which varies in copy number between 2 and 12 in different individuals. We determined the copy number of this locus in 355 patients with cystic fibrosis (CF), and tested for correlation between beta-defensin cluster genomic copy number and lung disease associated with CF. No significant association was found.
The objective of this study was to assess temporal changes in incidence and short term mortality of Staphylococcus aureus bacteraemia (SAB) from 1995 through 2008.
The study was conducted as a nation-wide observational cohort study with matched population controls. The setting was hospitalized patients in Denmark 1995-2008. Uni- and multivariate analyses were used to analyze the hazard of death within 30 days from SAB.
A total of 16 330 cases of SAB were identified: 57% were hospital-associated (HA), 31% were community-acquired (CA) and 13% were of undetermined acquisition. The overall adjusted incidence rate remained stable at 23 per 100 000 population but the proportion of SAB cases older than 75 years increased significantly. Comorbidity in the cohort as measured by Charlson comorbidity index (CCI) score and alcohol-related diagnoses increased over the study period. In contrast, among the population controls the CCI remained stable and alcohol-related diagnoses increased slightly. For HA SAB crude 30-day mortality decreased from 27.8% to 21.8% (22% reduction) whereas the change for CA SAB was small (26.5% to 25.8%). By multivariate Cox regression, age, female sex, time period, CCI score and alcohol-related diagnoses were associated with increased mortality regardless of mode of acquisition.
Throughout a 14-year period the overall incidence of SAB remained stable while the overall short term prognosis continued to improve despite increased age and accumulation of comorbidity in the cohort. However, age and comorbidity were strong prognostic indicators for short term mortality.
Bacteraemia; Epidemiology; Incidence; Mortality; Comorbidity; Alcoholism; Staphylococcus aureus; Charlson comorbidity index
Beta-defensins are a family of multifunctional genes with roles in defense against pathogens, reproduction, and pigmentation. In humans, six beta-defensin genes are clustered in a repeated region which is copy-number variable (CNV) as a block, with a diploid copy number between 1 and 12. The role in host defense makes the evolutionary history of this CNV particularly interesting, because morbidity due to infectious disease is likely to have been an important selective force in human evolution, and to have varied between geographical locations. Here, we show CNV of the beta-defensin region in chimpanzees, and identify a beta-defensin block in the human lineage that contains rapidly evolving noncoding regulatory sequences. We also show that variation at one of these rapidly evolving sequences affects expression levels and cytokine responsiveness of DEFB103, a key inhibitor of influenza virus fusion at the cell surface. A worldwide analysis of beta-defensin CNV in 67 populations shows an unusually high frequency of high-DEFB103-expressing copies in East Asia, the geographical origin of historical and modern influenza epidemics, possibly as a result of selection for increased resistance to influenza in this region. Hum Mutat 32:743–750, 2011. © 2011 Wiley-Liss, Inc.
CNV; defensin; antimicrobial; influenza; paralogue ratio test
S. aureus bacteremia in Australia is increasingly caused by MRSA, which is likely to affect empiric prescribing of antimicrobial drugs in suspected cases.
Staphylococcus aureus bacteremia (SAB) is common and increasing worldwide. A retrospective review was undertaken to quantify the number of cases, their place of acquisition, and the proportions caused by methicillin-resistant S. aureus (MRSA) in 17 hospitals in Australia. Of 3,192 episodes, 1,571 (49%) were community onset. MRSA caused 40% of hospital-onset episodes and 12% of community-onset episodes. The median rate of SAB was 1.48/1,000 admissions (range 0.61–3.24; median rate for hospital-onset SAB was 0.7/1,000 and for community onset 0.8/1,000 admissions). Using these rates, we estimate that ≈6,900 episodes of SAB occur annually in Australia (35/100,000 population). SAB is common, and a substantial proportion of cases may be preventable. The epidemiology is evolving, with >10% of community-onset SAB now caused by MRSA. This is an emerging infectious disease concern and is likely to impact on empiric antimicrobial drug prescribing in suspected cases of SAB.
Staphylococcus aureus; bacteremia; hospital infections; methicillin resistance; mortality; fatal outcome; nosocomial infections; infection control; indwelling catheters
Summary: Staphylococcus aureus bacteremia (SAB) is an important infection with an incidence rate ranging from 20 to 50 cases/100,000 population per year. Between 10% and 30% of these patients will die from SAB. Comparatively, this accounts for a greater number of deaths than for AIDS, tuberculosis, and viral hepatitis combined. Multiple factors influence outcomes for SAB patients. The most consistent predictor of mortality is age, with older patients being twice as likely to die. Except for the presence of comorbidities, the impacts of other host factors, including gender, ethnicity, socioeconomic status, and immune status, are unclear. Pathogen-host interactions, especially the presence of shock and the source of SAB, are strong predictors of outcomes. Although antibiotic resistance may be associated with increased mortality, questions remain as to whether this reflects pathogen-specific factors or poorer responses to antibiotic therapy, namely, vancomycin. Optimal management relies on starting appropriate antibiotics in a timely fashion, resulting in improved outcomes for certain patient subgroups. The roles of surgery and infectious disease consultations require further study. Although the rate of mortality from SAB is declining, it remains high. Future international collaborative studies are required to tease out the relative contributions of various factors to mortality, which would enable the optimization of SAB management and patient outcomes.
Human β defensin DEFB103 acts as both a stimulant and an attenuator of chemokine and cytokine responses: a dichotomy that is not entirely understood. Our predicted results using an in silico simulation model of dendritic cells and our observed results in human myeloid dendritic cells, show that DEFB103 significantly (p < 0.05) enhanced 6 responses, attenuated 7 responses, and both enhanced/attenuated the CXCL1 and TNF responses to Porphyromonas gingivalis hemagglutinin B (HagB). In murine JAWSII dendritic cells, DEFB103 significantly attenuated, yet rarely enhanced, the Cxcl2, Il6, and Csf3 responses to HagB; and in C57/BL6 mice, DEFB103 significantly enhanced, yet rarely attenuated, the Cxcl1, Csf1, and Csf3 responses. Thus, DEFB103 influences pro-inflammatory activities with the concentration of DEFB103 and order of timing of DEFB103 exposure to dendritic cells, with respect to microbial antigen exposure to cells, being paramount in orchestrating the onset, magnitude, and composition of the chemokine and cytokine response.
Staphylococcus aureus is a pathogen often found in pneumonia and sepsis. In the context of the resistance of this organism to conventional antibiotics, an understanding of the regulation of natural endogenous antimicrobial molecules is of paramount importance. Previous studies have shown that both human and mouse airways express a variety of these molecules, including defensins, cathelicidins, and the four-disulfide core protein secretory leukocyte protease inhibitor. We demonstrate here by culturing mouse tracheal epithelial cells at an air-liquid interface that, despite the production of Defb1, Defb14, and Defr1 in this system, these cells are unable to clear S. aureus when exposed to this respiratory pathogen. Using an adenovirus (Ad)-mediated gene transfer strategy, we show that overexpression of elafin, an anti-elastase/antimicrobial molecule (also a member of the four-disulfide core protein family), dramatically improves the clearance of S. aureus. In addition, we also demonstrate that this overexpression is efficient in vivo and that intratracheal instillation of Ad-elafin significantly reduced the lung bacterial load and demonstrates concomitant anti-inflammatory activity by reducing neutrophil numbers and markers of lung inflammation, such as bronchoalveolar lavage levels of tumor necrosis factor and myeloperoxidase. These findings show that an increased antimicrobial activity phenotype is provided by the elafin molecule and have implications for its use in S. aureus-associated local and systemic infections.
Facioscapulohumeral dystrophy (FSHD) is one of the most common inherited muscular dystrophies. The causative gene remains controversial and the mechanism of pathophysiology unknown. Here we identify genes associated with germline and early stem cell development as targets of the DUX4 transcription factor, a leading candidate gene for FSHD. The genes regulated by DUX4 are reliably detected in FSHD muscle but not in controls, providing direct support for the model that misexpression of DUX4 is a causal factor for FSHD. Additionally, we show that DUX4 binds and activates LTR elements from a class of MaLR endogenous primate retrotransposons and suppresses the innate immune response to viral infection, at least in part through the activation of DEFB103, a human defensin that can inhibit muscle differentiation. These findings suggest specific mechanisms of FSHD pathology and identify candidate biomarkers for disease diagnosis and progression.
There is a paucity of population-based studies on Staphylococcus aureus bacteremia (SAB) in the United States. We determined the incidence and trends of SAB in Olmsted County, Minnesota, over an 8-year period.
A retrospective, population-based, cohort study was done to evaluate the initial episodes of SAB occurring in adult residents of Olmsted County, Minnesota, from January 1, 1998 through December 31, 2005 using the microbiology databases at Mayo Clinic and Olmsted Medical Center.
Among 247 evaluable adult patients with SAB, who were included in the incidence calculation, 57.9% were males and the median age was 72.1 years (range 19.5 - 98.5). Bacteremic episodes were classified according to acquisition site: 23.5% were nosocomial (NA-SAB); 58.7% were healthcare-associated (HCA-SAB); and 23.8% were community-acquired (CA-SAB). MRSA constituted 31.6% of the cases. No community-acquired MRSA bacteremia was noted. The age-adjusted incidence rate of SAB was 28.3/100,000 person-years for females, and 53.5/100,000 person-years for males, with an age- and gender-adjusted rate of 38.2/100,000 person-years. The age- and gender-adjusted incidence of NA-SAB, HCA-SAB, and CA-SAB was 9.0, 22.6 and 6.6/100,000 person-years, respectively. The age- and gender-adjusted incidence of MSSA was 25.4/100,000 and of MRSA was 12.4/100,000 person-years. Overall, the incidence rate increased with age, but not over calendar year. The exception was MRSA-B, which increased at a rate of 19.8% (± 5.5%) per year during the study period.
The incidence of SAB in adults remained stable in Olmsted County, Minnesota, from 1998 to 2005, but the proportion due to MRSA has significantly increased over the 8-year period.
Incidence; Staphylococcus aureus; bacteremia; population-based; Olmsted County
β-Defensins are cationic antimicrobial peptides expressed in epithelia. They exhibit antibacterial, antifungal, and antiviral properties. Defensins are a component of the innate immune response, and it has been proposed that they have a protective role in the oral cavity. Previous studies have shown that human β-defensin 1 (hBD-1) is constitutively expressed in oral epithelial cells but that expression varies between individuals. We tested the hypothesis that genetic variations in defensin peptide expression may be associated with opportunistic infections. This may be critical in the immunocompromised patient population, in which innate immune responses may have a relatively more important role. Oral Candida carriage status and the presence of six single-nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) in the DEFB1 gene encoding hBD-1 were evaluated in type I diabetic patients (n = 43) and nondiabetic controls (n = 50). Genomic DNA was obtained from buccal swabs. Portions of the DEFB1 gene were amplified, and each SNP was analyzed by a TaqMan assay, standardized with control DNA of known genotype. Candida carriage status was determined from unstimulated saliva on CHROMagar plating medium. A low level of Candida carriage was defined as ≤350 CFU/ml. A high level of Candida carriage was seen in 44% of the diabetic subjects but only in 28% of the nondiabetic controls (P < 0.05). C. albicans predominated; however, diabetic subjects, especially those with high levels of carriage, showed an increased proportion of Candida glabrata and C. tropicalis. There was a strong association between an SNP in the 5′ untranslated region (C→G at position −44) and Candida carriage in both groups. Among individuals in the diabetic population who had the SNP allele 2 (G), 58% had low CFU, while 6% had high CFU. The C→G SNP at position −44 is associated with low levels of Candida carriage. The resultant odd ratios are statistically significant for a protective effect (odd ratios, 25 for diabetic subjects and 8.5 for nondiabetic subjects). These results indicate that genetic variations in the DEFB1 gene encoding hBD-1 may have a major role in mediating and/or contributing to susceptibility to oral infection.
Practice guidelines recommend at least 14 days of antibiotic therapy for uncomplicated Staphylococcus aureus bacteremia (SAB). However, these recommendations have not been formally evaluated in clinical studies. To evaluate the duration of therapy for uncomplicated SAB, we analyzed data from our prospective cohort of patients with SAB. A prospective observational cohort study was performed in patients with SAB at a tertiary-care hospital in Korea between August 2008 and September 2010. All adult patients with SAB were prospectively enrolled and observed over a 12-week period. Uncomplicated SAB was defined as follows: negative results of follow-up blood cultures at 2 to 4 days, defervescence within 72 h of therapy, no evidence of metastatic infection, and catheter-related bloodstream infection or primary bacteremia without evidence of endocarditis on echocardiography. Of 483 patients with SAB, 111 met the study criteria for uncomplicated SAB. Fifty-three (47.7%) had methicillin-resistant SAB. When short-course therapy (<14 days) and intermediate-course therapy (≥14 days) were compared, the treatment failure rates (10/38 [26.3%] versus 16/73 [21.9%]) and crude mortality (7/38 [18.4%] versus 16/73 [21.9%]) did not differ significantly between the two groups. However, short-course therapy was significantly associated with relapse (3/38 [7.9%] versus 0/73; P = 0.036). In multivariate analysis, primary bacteremia was associated with a trend toward increased treatment failure (P = 0.06). Therefore, in the treatment of uncomplicated SAB, it seems reasonable to consider at least 14 days of antibiotic therapy to prevent relapse, as practice guidelines recommend. Because of its poor prognosis, primary bacteremia, even with a low risk of complication, should not be treated with short-course therapy.
Antimicrobial effector mechanisms are central to the function of the innate immune response in host defense against microbial pathogens. In humans, activation of Toll-like receptor 2/1 (TLR2/1) on monocytes induces a vitamin D dependent antimicrobial activity against intracellular mycobacteria. Here, we report that TLR activation of monocytes triggers induction of the defensin beta 4 gene (DEFB4), requiring convergence of the IL-1β and vitamin D receptor (VDR) pathways. TLR2/1 activation triggered IL-1β activity, involving the upregulation of both IL-1β and IL-1 receptor, and downregulation of the IL-1 receptor antagonist. TLR2/1L induction of IL-1β was required for upregulation of DEFB4, but not cathelicidin, whereas VDR activation was required for expression of both antimicrobial genes. The differential requirements for induction of DEFB4 and cathelicidin were reflected by differences in their respective promoter regions; the DEFB4 promoter had one vitamin D response element (VDRE) and two NF-κB sites, whereas the cathelicidin promoter had three VDREs and no NF-κB sites. Transfection of NF-κB into primary monocytes synergized with 1,25D3 in the induction of DEFB4 expression. Knockdown of either DEFB4 or cathelicidin in primary monocytes resulted in the loss of TLR2/1-mediated antimicrobial activity against intracellular mycobacteria. Therefore, these data identify a novel mechanism of host defense requiring the induction of IL-1β in synergy with vitamin D activation, for the TLR-induced antimicrobial pathway against an intracellular pathogen.
Limited data on the clinical outcome of vancomycin treatment compared with that of beta-lactam treatment in patients with methicillin-susceptible Staphylococcus aureus bacteremia (MSSA-B) are available. We used different and complementary approaches: (i) a retrospective cohort study using a propensity score to adjust for confounding by treatment assignment and (ii) a matched case-control study. Of all patients with S. aureus bacteremia (SAB) in two university-affiliated hospitals over a 7-year period, 294 patients with MSSA-B were enrolled in the cohort study. The cases for the case-control study were defined as patients who received vancomycin treatment for MSSA-B; the controls, who were patients that received beta-lactam treatment for MSSA-B, were selected at a 1:2 (case:control) ratio according to the objective matching scoring system and the propensity score system. In the cohort study, SAB-related mortality in patients with vancomycin treatment (37%, 10/27) was significantly higher than that in those with beta-lactam treatment (18%, 47/267) (P = 0.02). In addition, multivariate analysis revealed that vancomycin treatment was associated with SAB-related mortality when independent predictors for SAB-related mortality and propensity score were considered (adjusted odds ratio of 3.3, 95% confidence interval of 1.2 to 9.5). In the case-control study using the objective matching scoring system and the propensity score system, SAB-related mortality in case patients was 37% (10/27) and in control patients 11% (6/54) (P < 0.01). Our data suggest that vancomycin is inferior to beta-lactam in the treatment of MSSA-B.
In highly copy number variable (CNV) regions such as the human defensin gene locus, comprehensive assessment of sequence variations is challenging. PCR approaches are practically restricted to tiny fractions, and next-generation sequencing (NGS) approaches of whole individual genomes e.g. by the 1000 Genomes Project is confined by an affordable sequence depth. Combining target enrichment with NGS may represent a feasible approach.
As a proof of principle, we enriched a ~850 kb section comprising the CNV defensin gene cluster DEFB, the invariable DEFA part and 11 control regions from two genomes by sequence capture and sequenced it by 454 technology. 6,651 differences to the human reference genome were found. Comparison to HapMap genotypes revealed sensitivities and specificities in the range of 94% to 99% for the identification of variations.
Using error probabilities for rigorous filtering revealed 2,886 unique single nucleotide variations (SNVs) including 358 putative novel ones. DEFB CN determinations by haplotype ratios were in agreement with alternative methods.
Although currently labor extensive and having high costs, target enriched NGS provides a powerful tool for the comprehensive assessment of SNVs in highly polymorphic CNV regions of individual genomes. Furthermore, it reveals considerable amounts of putative novel variations and simultaneously allows CN estimation.
Staphylococcus aureus bacteremia (SAB) is an urgent medical problem due to its growing frequency and its poor associated outcome. As healthcare delivery increasingly involves invasive procedures and implantable devices, the number of patients at risk for SAB and its complications is likely to grow. Compounding this problem is the growing prevalence of methicillin resistant S. aureus (MRSA) and the dwindling efficacy of vancomycin, long the treatment of choice for this pathogen. Despite the recent availability of several new antibiotics for S. aureus, new strategies for treatment and prevention are required for this serious, common cause of human infection.
Staphylococcus aureus; bacteremia; MRSA; epidemiology; infective endocarditis; treatment
Tefibazumab (Aurexis), a humanized monoclonal antibody that binds to the surface-expressed adhesion protein clumping factor A, is under development as adjunctive therapy for serious Staphylococcus aureus infections. Sixty patients with documented S. aureus bacteremia (SAB) were randomized and received either tefibazumab at 20 mg/kg of body weight as a single infusion or a placebo in addition to an antibiotic(s). The primary objective of the study was determining safety and pharmacokinetics. An additional objective was to assess activity by a composite clinical end point (CCE). Baseline characteristics were evenly matched between groups. Seventy percent of infections were healthcare associated, and 57% had an SAB-related complication at baseline. There were no differences between the treatment groups in overall adverse clinical events or alterations in laboratory values. Two patients developed serious adverse events that were at least possibly related to tefibazumab; one hypersensitivity reaction was considered definitely related. The tefibazumab plasma half-life was 18 days. Mean plasma levels were <100 μg/ml by day 14. A CCE occurred in six patients (four placebo and two tefibazumab patients) and included five deaths (four placebo and one tefibazumab patient). Progression in the severity of sepsis occurred in four placebo and no tefibazumab patients. Tefibazumab was well tolerated, with a safety profile similar to those of other monoclonal antibodies. Additional trials are warranted to address the dosing range and efficacy of tefibazumab.