Virulence factors in multidrug (MDR) and Pan-drug resistant (XDR) Pseudomonas aeruginosa: a cross-sectional study of isolates recovered from ocular infections in a high-incidence setting in southern India

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Journal of Ophthalmic Inflammation and Infection


Background: Global concerns have been raised due to upward trend of Multi-drug Resistant (MDR) Pseudomonas aeruginosa reports in ocular infections. Our aim was to characterize the virulence determinants of MDR P. aeruginosa causing ocular infections. Methods: P. aeruginosa strains were isolated from 46 patients with conjunctivitis (2), endophthalmitis (11) and active keratitis (25) seen at our Institute, between 2016 and 2020. The isolates were identified by Vitek-2 and characterized based on growth kinetics, biofilm formation, motility, pyoverdine and pyocyanin production, phospholipase and catalase activity, urease production along with expression of exotoxins (exo-A, exo-U and exo-S) and correlated to its antibiotic profiles. Results: Of the 46 P. aeruginosa isolates, 23 were MDR and were significantly (p = 0.03) associated with older (> 65) patients, along with higher production of pyoverdine (58.3%), pyocyanin (30.4%), phospholipase (91.6%) and protease (62.5%) activity, formed strong biofilms and exo-A (30.4%). No significant relation between motility, urease and catalase production with antibiotic susceptibility was observed. Heatmap and PCoA analysis confirmed this unique virulence profile associated with MDR-PA strains. Conclusion: Phenotypic characteristics of P.aeruginosa might be responsible for increased colonization and antibiotic resistance observed in vivo and understanding these differences may lead to development of clinical guidelines for the management of MDR infections.



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