Virulence characteristics ofAcinetobacter baumanniiclinical isolates vary with the expression levels ofomps

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Abstract

Purpose.

We investigated the expression levels of virulence factors (ompA, omp33-36 and carO) in five clinical isolates and in a standard ATCC 19606 strain of Acinetobacter baumannii to determine their effect on the virulence characteristics of the isolates.

Methodology.

The mRNA levels of omps and proinflammatory cytokines were analyzed by quantitative real-time PCR. For adherence assay, after human lung epithelial cells (A549) were co-cultured with A. baumannii at 37 °C for 2 h, the cell-adherent bacteria was counted. Pearson correlation analysis was used to compare the omps mRNA levels, the proinflammatory cytokines and the number of adherent bacteria.

Results.

The mRNA levels of ompA in the clinical isolates were higher and similar compared with those in ATCC 19606, whereas the mRNA levels of omp33-36 in the clinical isolates were lower and similar compared with those in ATCC 19606. The mRNA levels of carO in the clinical isolates were significantly higher than those in ATCC 19606. The number of cell-adherent clinical isolates was higher than that of cell-adherent ATCC 19606. Furthermore, the number of cell-adherent clinical isolates was positively and significantly correlated with ompA mRNA level. The mRNA levels of TNF-α, IL-6 and IL-8 in A549 cells co-cultured with the clinical isolates were lower than those in A549 cells co-cultured with ATCC 19606. Moreover, the mRNA levels of TNF-α, IL-6 and IL-8 were negatively and significantly correlated with those of carO in the isolates.

Conclusion.

These results provide insights into the renewed virulence characteristics of A. baumannii clinical isolates that depend on cell adherence capacity and the expression level of omp mRNAs.

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