Increased bactericidal activity of colistin onPseudomonas aeruginosabiofilms in anaerobic conditions

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Tolerance towards antibiotics of Pseudomonas aeruginosa biofilms is recognized as a major cause of therapeutic failure of chronic lung infection in cystic fibrosis (CF) patients. This lung infection is characterized by antibiotic-tolerant biofilms in mucus with zones of O2 depletion mainly due to polymorphonuclear leukocytic activity. In contrast to the main types of bactericidal antibiotics, it has not been possible to establish an association between the bactericidal effects of colistin and the production of detectable levels of OH ˙ on several strains of planktonic P. aeruginosa. Therefore, we propose that production of OH ˙ may not contribute significantly to the bactericidal activity of colistin on P. aeruginosa biofilm. Thus, we investigated the effect of colistin treatment on biofilm of wild-type PAO1, a catalase-deficient mutant (ΔkatA) and a colistin-resistant CF isolate cultured in microtiter plates in normoxic- or anoxic atmosphere with 1 mM nitrate. The killing of bacteria during colistin treatment was measured by CFU counts, and the OH⋅ formation was measured by 3′-(p-hydroxylphenyl fluorescein) fluorescein (HPF) fluorescence. Validation of the assay was done by hydrogen peroxide treatment. OH⋅ formation was undetectable in aerobic PAO1 biofilms during 3 h of colistin treatment. Interestingly, we demonstrate increased susceptibility of P. aeruginosa biofilms towards colistin during anaerobic conditions. In fact, the maximum enhancement of killing by anaerobic conditions exceeded 2 logs using 4 mg L−1 of colistin compared to killing at aerobic conditions.

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