Virulence factors and clonal diversity of Staphylococcus aureus in colonization and wound infection with emphasis on diabetic foot infection

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European Journal of Clinical Microbiology and Infectious Diseases


Foot ulcer is a common complication in diabetic subjects and infection of these wounds contributes to increased rates of morbidity and mortality. Diabetic foot infections are caused by a multitude of microbes and Staphylococcus aureus, a major nosocomial and community-associated pathogen, significantly contributes to wound infections as well. Staphylococcus aureus is also the primary pathogen commonly associated with diabetic foot osteomyelitis and can cause chronic and recurrent bone infections. The virulence capability of the pathogen and host immune factors can determine the occurrence and progression of S. aureus infection. Pathogen-related factors include complexity of bacterial structure and functional characteristics that provide metabolic and adhesive properties to overcome host immune response. Even though, virulence markers and toxins of S. aureus are broadly similar in different wound models, certain distinguishing features can be observed in diabetic foot infection. Specific clonal lineages and virulence factors such as TSST-1, leukocidins, enterotoxins, and exfoliatins play a significant role in determining wound outcomes. In this review, we describe the role of specific virulence determinants and clonal lineages of S. aureus that influence wound colonization and infection with special reference to diabetic foot infections.

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