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Use of artificial sputum medium to test antibiotic efficacy against pseudomonas aeruginosa in conditions more relevant to the cystic fibrosis lung

Kirchner, S, Fothergill, J, Wright, E, James, C, Mowat, E and Winstanley, C 2012, 'Use of artificial sputum medium to test antibiotic efficacy against pseudomonas aeruginosa in conditions more relevant to the cystic fibrosis lung' , Journal of Visualised Experiments, 64 , pp. 1-8.

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There is growing concern about the relevance of in vitro antimicrobial susceptibility tests when applied to isolates of P. aeruginosa from cystic fibrosis (CF) patients. Existing methods rely on single or a few isolates grown aerobically and planktonically. Predetermined cut-offs are used to define whether the bacteria are sensitive or resistant to any given antibiotic1. However, during chronic lung infections in CF, P. aeruginosa populations exist in biofilms and there is evidence that the environment is largely microaerophilic2. The stark difference in conditions between bacteria in the lung and those during diagnostic testing has called into question the reliability and even relevance of these tests3. Artificial sputum medium (ASM) is a culture medium containing the components of CF patient sputum, including amino acids, mucin and free DNA. P. aeruginosa growth in ASM mimics growth during CF infections, with the formation of self-aggregating biofilm structures and population divergence4,5,6. The aim of this study was to develop a microtitre-plate assay to study antimicrobial susceptibility of P. aeruginosa based on growth in ASM, which is applicable to both microaerophilic and aerobic conditions. An ASM assay was developed in a microtitre plate format. P. aeruginosa biofilms were allowed to develop for 3 days prior to incubation with antimicrobial agents at different concentrations for 24 hours. After biofilm disruption, cell viability was measured by staining with resazurin. This assay was used to ascertain the sessile cell minimum inhibitory concentration (SMIC) of tobramycin for 15 different P. aeruginosa isolates under aerobic and microaerophilic conditions and SMIC values were compared to those obtained with standard broth growth. Whilst there was some evidence for increased MIC values for isolates grown in ASM when compared to their planktonic counterparts, the biggest differences were found with bacteria tested in microaerophilic conditions, which showed a much increased resistance up to a >128 fold, towards tobramycin in the ASM system when compared to assays carried out in aerobic conditions. The lack of association between current susceptibility testing methods and clinical outcome has questioned the validity of current methods3. Several in vitro models have been used previously to study P. aeruginosa biofilms7, 8. However, these methods rely on surface attached biofilms, whereas the ASM biofilms resemble those observed in the CF lung9 . In addition, reduced oxygen concentration in the mucus has been shown to alter the behavior of P. aeruginosa2 and affect antibiotic susceptibility10. Therefore using ASM under microaerophilic conditions may provide a more realistic environment in which to study antimicrobial susceptibility.

Item Type: Article
Themes: Health and Wellbeing
Schools: Schools > School of Environment and Life Sciences > Biomedical Research Centre
Journal or Publication Title: Journal of Visualised Experiments
Publisher: JOVE
Refereed: Yes
ISSN: 1940-087X
Related URLs:
Funders: The NIHR School for Social Care Research (SSCR), The Dr Hadwen Trust, The Wellcome Trust, Novartis Pharmaceuticals
Depositing User: Dr Chloe James
Date Deposited: 21 Mar 2013 16:57
Last Modified: 02 Feb 2014 23:39

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