Staphylococcus aureus impacts Pseudomonas aeruginosa chronic respiratory disease in murine models

C Cigana, I Bianconi, R Baldan, M De Simone, C Riva, B Sipione, G Rossi, DM Cirillo, A Bragonzi

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Background: Staphylococcus aureus and Pseudomonas aeruginosa are key bacterial pathogens of the respiratory tract in patients with cystic fibrosis (CF). While P. aeruginosa chronic bronchial infection is associated with a poorer prognosis, the consequences of S. aureus colonization on CF outcomes are controversial. Methods: In this paper, murine models of infection resembling traits of the CF human airways disease have been revisited using an infection schedule that mimics the sequence of events of pulmonary disease in CF patients. First, mice were infected with S. aureus, embedded in agar beads; this was followed by P. aeruginosa infection and analysis of bacterial load, leukocyte infiltration, and lung tissue damage. Results: We reveal that: i) S. aureus promotes severe lesions including abscess formation, ii) S. aureus increases the risk of subsequent chronic P. aeruginosa respiratory infection, iii) once the chronic infection has been established, P. aeruginosa influences most of the inflammatory responses independent of S. aureus. Conclusions: Our findings established the significance of S. aureus colonization per se and the impact on the subsequent P. aeruginosa infection. This would point towards a thorough assessment for the need of treatment against S. aureus.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)933-942
Number of pages10
JournalThe Journal of infectious diseases
Issue number6
Publication statusPublished - 2018


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