Phagocytosis and intracellular killing of heterogeneous vancomycin-intermediate Staphylococcus aureus strains

Leonóra Méhes, Szilvia Taskó, Annamária Székely, Ákos Tóth, Erika Ungvári, Irén Erdei, Zsuzsanna Dombrádi, Judit Szabó, László Maródi

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Risk factors for invasive infections by heterogeneous vancomycin-intermediate Staphylococcus aureus (hVISA) may involve resistance to opsonophagocytosis and bacterial killing. hVISA strains typically have a thickened cell wall with altered peptidoglycan cross-linking. To determine whether hVISA may be endowed with an increased resistance to phagocytosis, this study assessed the characteristics of uptake and killing by granulocytes of three hVISA strains. All isolates were analysed by multilocus sequence typing and staphylococcal chromosome cassette mec typing. One of the strains belonged to the Hungarian meticillin-resistant S. aureus (MRSA) clone ST239- MRSA-III and the other two to the New York/Japan MRSA clone ST5-MRSA-II. In the presence of 10% normal serum, the extent of phagocytosis and killing by blood granulocytes was equivalent for hVISA, MRSA and meticillin-sensitive S. aureus (MSSA) strains. Using granulocytes and serum from one patient who survived hVISA infection, the rate of phagocytosis and killing was also found to be comparable to that by control cells in the presence of 10% serum. However, phagocytosis and killing of hVISA and MRSA (ATCC 25923) strains by normal granulocytes was markedly decreased in the presence of low concentrations (1 and 2.5%) of serum from the patient who survived hVISA infection compared with that found with normal human serum. These data suggest that hVISA and MRSA isolates may be more resistant to opsonophagocytosis and bacterial killing than MSSA isolates, at least in some cases.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)198-203
Number of pages6
JournalJournal of medical microbiology
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - Feb 1 2012


ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Microbiology
  • Microbiology (medical)

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