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1.  Analysis of the Impact of Early Surgery on In-hospital Mortality of Native Valve Endocarditis: Use of Propensity Score and Instrumental Variable Methods to Adjust for Treatment Selection Bias 
Circulation  2010;121(8):1005-1013.
The impact of early surgery on mortality in patients with native valve endocarditis (NVE) is unresolved. This study seeks to evaluate valve surgery compared to medical therapy for NVE, and to identify characteristics of patients who are most likely to benefit from early surgery.
Methods and Results
Using a prospective, multinational cohort of patients with definite NVE, the effect of early surgery on in-hospital mortality was assessed using propensity-based matching adjusting for survivor bias, and instrumental variable analysis. Patients were stratified by propensity quintile, paravalvular complications, valve perforation, systemic embolization, stroke, Staphylococcus aureus infection and congestive heart failure.
Of the 1552 patients with NVE, 720 (46%) underwent early surgery and 832 (54%) were treated with medical therapy. Compared to medical therapy, early surgery was associated with a significant reduction in mortality in the overall cohort (12.1% [87/720] vs. 20.7% [172/832]) and after propensity-based matching and adjustment for survivor bias (absolute risk reduction (ARR) = -5.9 %; p<0.001). Using a combined instrument, the instrumental variable adjusted ARR in mortality associated with early surgery was -11.2% (p<0.001). In sub-group analysis, surgery was found to confer a survival benefit compared to medical therapy among patients with a higher propensity for surgery (ARR= -10.9% for quintiles 4 and 5; p=0.002); those with paravalvular complications (ARR= -17.3 %; p<0.001), systemic embolization (ARR= -12.9%; p=0.002), S aureus NVE (ARR= -20.1%; p<0.001) and stroke (ARR= -13%; p=0.02) but not with valve perforation or congestive heart failure.
Early surgery for NVE is associated with an in-hospital mortality benefit compared to medical therapy alone.
PMCID: PMC3597944  PMID: 20159831
early surgery; infective endocarditis; medical therapy; in hospital mortality
2.  Combinatorial Phenotypic Signatures Distinguish Persistent from Resolving Methicillin-Resistant Staphylococcus aureus Bacteremia Isolates ▿  
Persistent methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) bacteremia (PB) (positive blood cultures after ≥7 days of therapy) represents a clinically challenging subset of invasive MRSA infections. In this investigation, we examined the potential correlation of specific virulence signatures with PB versus resolving MRSA bacteremia (RB) (negative blood cultures within 2 to 4 days of therapy) strains. Thirty-six MRSA isolates from patients enrolled in a recent multinational clinical trial were studied for (i) susceptibility to host defense cationic peptides (HDPs) (i.e., thrombin-induced platelet microbicidal proteins [tPMPs] and human neutrophil peptide 1 [hNP-1]); (ii) adherence to host endovascular ligands (fibronectin) and cells (endothelial cells); and (iii) biofilm formation. We found that PB isolates exhibited significantly reduced susceptibilities to tPMPs and hNP-1 (P < 0.001 and P = 0.023, respectively). There was no significant association between the PB outcome and fibronectin binding, endothelial cell binding, or biofilm formation (P = 0.25, 0.97, and 0.064 versus RB strains, respectively). However, multiple logistic regression analysis revealed that the PB outcome was significantly associated with the combination of reduced susceptibilities to HDPs and extent of biofilm formation (P < 0.0001). Similar results were obtained in a second analysis using days of bacteremia as a continuous outcome, showing that reduced HDP susceptibilities and increased biofilm formation cocontributed to predict the duration of bacteremia. Our data indicate that PB isolates have specific pathogenic signatures independent of conventional antimicrobial susceptibility. These combinatorial mosaics can be defined and used to prospectively distinguish PB from RB strains in advance and potentially to predict ultimate clinical outcomes.
PMCID: PMC3028773  PMID: 21098242
3.  Development of Pooled Suppression Subtractive Hybridization to analyze the Pangenome of Staphylococcus aureus 
We describe the development and application of a pooled Suppression Subtractive Hybridization (PSSH) method to describe differences between the genomic content of a pool of clinical Staphylococcus aureus isolates and a sequenced reference strain. In comparative bacterial genomics, Suppression Subtractive Hybridization (SSH) is normally utilized to compare genomic features or expression profiles of one strain versus another, which limits its ability to analyze communities of isolates. However, a PSSH approach theoretically enables the user to characterize the entirety of gene content unique to a related group of isolates in a single reaction. These unique fragments may then be linked to individual isolates through standard PCR. This method was applied to examine the genomic diversity found in pools of Staphylococcus aureus isolates associated with complicated bacteremia infections leading to endocarditis and osteomyelitis. Across four pools of 10 isolates each, four hundred and twenty nine fragments not found in or significantly divergent from the S. aureus NCTC 8325 reference genome were detected. These fragments could be linked to individual strains within its pool by PCR. This is the first use of PSSH to examine the S. aureus pangenome. We propose that PSSH is a powerful tool for researchers interested in rapidly comparing the genomic content of multiple unstudied isolates.
PMCID: PMC2843094  PMID: 20138093
Staphylococcus aureus; pangenome; subtractive hybridization
4.  Determination of an Inoculum Effect with Various Cephalosporins among Clinical Isolates of Methicillin-Susceptible Staphylococcus aureus▿  
Using 98 clinical methicillin-susceptible Staphylococcus aureus isolates of known β-lactamase (Bla) type, we found a pronounced inoculum effect for cephalexin (mostly Bla type A and C strains), a mild inoculum effect for cephalothin (especially types B and C), and no inoculum effects for ceftriaxone and cefuroxime. Ceftobiprole showed the lowest MICs at a high inoculum but with a slight increase for Bla-positive versus Bla-negative strains. Since a potential therapeutic effect associated with a cephalosporin inoculum effect has been described, further studies are warranted.
PMCID: PMC2863656  PMID: 20211890
5.  Bonds between Fibronectin and Fibronectin-Binding Proteins on Staphylococcus aureus and Lactococcus lactis 
Langmuir  2010;26(13):10764-10770.
Bacterial cell-wall-associated fibronectin binding proteins A and B (FnBPA and FnBPB) form bonds with host fibronectin. This binding reaction is often the initial step in prosthetic device infections. Atomic force microscopy was used to evaluate binding interactions between a fibronectin-coated probe and laboratory-derived Staphylococcus aureus that are (i) defective in both FnBPA and FnBPB (fnbA fnbB double mutant, DU5883), (ii) capable of expressing only FnBPA (fnbA fnbB double mutant complemented with pFNBA4), or (iii) capable of expressing only FnBPB (fnbA fnbB double mutant complemented with pFNBB4). These experiments were repeated using Lactococcus lactis constructs expressing fnbA and fnbB genes from S. aureus. A distinct force signature was observed for those bacteria that expressed FnBPA or FnBPB. Analysis of this force signature with the biomechanical wormlike chain model suggests that parallel bonds form between fibronectin and FnBPs on a bacterium. The strength and covalence of bonds were evaluated via nonlinear regression of force profiles. Binding events were more frequent (p < 0.01) for S. aureus expressing FnBPA or FnBPB than for the S. aureus double mutant. The binding force, frequency, and profile were similar between the FnBPA and FnBPB expressing strains of S. aureus. The absence of both FnBPs from the surface of S. aureus removed its ability to form a detectable bond with fibronectin. By contrast, ectopic expression of FnBPA or FnBPB on the surface of L. lactis conferred fibronectin binding characteristics similar to those of S. aureus. These measurements demonstrate that fibronectin-binding adhesins FnBPA and FnBPB are necessary and sufficient for the binding of S. aureus to prosthetic devices that are coated with host fibronectin.
PMCID: PMC2893610  PMID: 20218549
6.  Two Genes on A/J Chromosome 18 Are Associated with Susceptibility to Staphylococcus aureus Infection by Combined Microarray and QTL Analyses 
PLoS Pathogens  2010;6(9):e1001088.
Although it has recently been shown that A/J mice are highly susceptible to Staphylococcus aureus sepsis as compared to C57BL/6J, the specific genes responsible for this differential phenotype are unknown. Using chromosome substitution strains (CSS), we found that loci on chromosomes 8, 11, and 18 influence susceptibility to S. aureus sepsis in A/J mice. We then used two candidate gene selection strategies to identify genes on these three chromosomes associated with S. aureus susceptibility, and targeted genes identified by both gene selection strategies. First, we used whole genome transcription profiling to identify 191 (56 on chr. 8, 100 on chr. 11, and 35 on chr. 18) genes on our three chromosomes of interest that are differentially expressed between S. aureus-infected A/J and C57BL/6J. Second, we identified two significant quantitative trait loci (QTL) for survival post-infection on chr. 18 using N2 backcross mice (F1 [C18A]×C57BL/6J). Ten genes on chr. 18 (March3, Cep120, Chmp1b, Dcp2, Dtwd2, Isoc1, Lman1, Spire1, Tnfaip8, and Seh1l) mapped to the two significant QTL regions and were also identified by the expression array selection strategy. Using real-time PCR, 6 of these 10 genes (Chmp1b, Dtwd2, Isoc1, Lman1, Tnfaip8, and Seh1l) showed significantly different expression levels between S. aureus-infected A/J and C57BL/6J. For two (Tnfaip8 and Seh1l) of these 6 genes, siRNA-mediated knockdown of gene expression in S. aureus–challenged RAW264.7 macrophages induced significant changes in the cytokine response (IL-1 β and GM-CSF) compared to negative controls. These cytokine response changes were consistent with those seen in S. aureus-challenged peritoneal macrophages from CSS 18 mice (which contain A/J chromosome 18 but are otherwise C57BL/6J), but not C57BL/6J mice. These findings suggest that two genes, Tnfaip8 and Seh1l, may contribute to susceptibility to S. aureus in A/J mice, and represent promising candidates for human genetic susceptibility studies.
Author Summary
Staphylococcus aureus has a wide spectrum of human infection, ranging from asymptomatic nasal carriage to overwhelming sepsis and death. Mouse models offer an attractive strategy for investigating complex diseases such as S. aureus infections. A/J mice are highly susceptible to S. aureus infection compared with C57BL/6J mice. We showed that genes on chromosomes 8, 11, and 18 in A/J are responsible for susceptibility to S. aureus by using chromosome substitution strains (CSS). From the ∼4200 genes on these three chromosomes, we identified 191 which were differentially expressed between A/J and C57BL/6J when challenged with S. aureus. Next, we identified two significant QTLs on chromosome 18 that are associated with susceptibility to S. aureus infection in N2 backcross mice. Ten genes (March3, Cep120, Chmp1b, Dcp2, Dtwd2, Isoc1, Lman1, Spire1, Tnfaip8, and Seh1l) mapped to the two significant QTLs and were differentially expressed between A/J and C57BL/6J. One gene on each QTL, Tnfaip8 and Seh1l, affected expression of cytokines in mouse macrophages exposed to S. aureus. These cytokine response patterns were consistent with those seen in S. aureus-challenged peritoneal macrophages from CSS 18, but not C57BL/6J. Tnfaip8 and Seh1l are strong candidates for genes influencing susceptibility to S. aureus of A/J mice.
PMCID: PMC2932726  PMID: 20824097

Results 1-6 (6)