Antibiotic resistances of Clostridium difficile

Patrizia Spigaglia, Paola Mastrantonio, Fabrizio Barbanti

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter


The rapid evolution of antibiotic resistance in Clostridium difficile and the consequent effects on prevention and treatment of C. difficile infections (CDIs) are matter of concern for public health. Antibiotic resistance plays an important role in driving C. difficile epidemiology. Emergence of new types is often associated with the emergence of new resistances and most of epidemic C. difficile clinical isolates is currently resistant to multiple antibiotics. In particular, it is to worth to note the recent identification of strains with reduced susceptibility to the first-line antibiotics for CDI treatment and/or for relapsing infections. Antibiotic resistance in C. difficile has a multifactorial nature. Acquisition of genetic elements and alterations of the antibiotic target sites, as well as other factors, such as variations in the metabolic pathways and biofilm production, contribute to the survival of this pathogen in the presence of antibiotics. Different transfer mechanisms facilitate the spread of mobile elements among C. difficile strains and between C. difficile and other species. Furthermore, recent data indicate that both genetic elements and alterations in the antibiotic targets can be maintained in C. difficile regardless of the burden imposed on fitness, and therefore resistances may persist in C. difficile population in absence of antibiotic selective pressure.

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationAdvances in Experimental Medicine and Biology
PublisherSpringer New York LLC
Number of pages23
Publication statusPublished - Jan 1 2018

Publication series

NameAdvances in Experimental Medicine and Biology
ISSN (Print)0065-2598
ISSN (Electronic)2214-8019


  • Antibiotic susceptibility methods
  • C. difficile
  • Mechanisms of resistance
  • Multi-drug resistance (MDR)

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology(all)


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