Pseudomonas aeruginosa: Changes in antibiotic susceptibility, enzymatic activity, and antigenicity among colonial morphotypes

D. J. Sheehan, J. M. Janda, E. J. Bottone

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13 Scopus citations

Abstract

Colonial variants of Pseudomonas aeruginosa have received renewed interest because of their occurrence in sputum cultures of patients with cystic fibrosis. We encountered 11 strains of P. aeruginosa from various body sites of non-cystic fibrosis patients. The strains showed two to three colonial variants, including smooth, rough, and iridescent morphotypes that arose from subculture of a single colony of P. aeruginosa originating from a primary source. The colonial segregants differed in antibiotic susceptibility (resistance to gentamicin, carbenicillin, chloramphenicol, and tetracycline), presence or absence of exoenzymes (gelatinase and elastase), degree of proteolytic activity (caseinase), pigmentation, and antigenicity. These observations suggest that in vivo dissociation with concomitant changes in enzymatic and surface properties might greatly enhance invasiveness. Concurrent differences in antimicrobial susceptibility among the colonial variants could account in some instances for the failure of antibiotic treatment in P. aeruginosa infections in which one would anticipate a positive therapeutic response.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)926-930
Number of pages5
JournalJournal of Clinical Microbiology
Volume15
Issue number5
DOIs
StatePublished - 1982
Externally publishedYes

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