Genetic and environmental factors can affect the intestinal microbiome and microbial metabolome. Among these environmental factors, the consumption of antibiotics can significantly change the intestinal microbiome of individuals and consequently affect the corresponding metagenome. The term 'probiotics' is related to preventive medicine rather than therapeutic procedures and is, thus, considered the opposite of antibiotics. This review discusses the challenges between these opposing treatments in terms of the following points: (i) antibiotic resistance, the relationship between antibiotic consumption and microbiome diversity reduction, antibiotic effect on the metagenome, and disease associated with antibiotics; and (ii) probiotics as living drugs, probiotic effect on epigenetic alterations, and gut microbiome relevance to hygiene indulgence. The intestinal microbiome is more specific for individuals and may be affected by environmental alterations and the occurrence of diseases.
Antimicrobial resistance in Acinetobacter baumannii is a growing public health concern and an important pathogen in nosocomial infections. We investigated the genes involved in resistance to carbapenems and cephalosporins in clinical A. baumannii isolates from a tertiary medical centre in Malaysia. A. baumannii was isolated from 167 clinical specimens and identified by sequencing of the 16S rRNA and rpoB genes. The MIC for imipenem, meropenem, ceftazidime and cefepime were determined by the E-test method. The presence of carbapenemase and cephalosporinase genes was investigated by PCR. The isolates were predominantly nonsusceptible to carbapenems and cephalosporins (>70 %) with high MIC values. ISAba1 was detected in all carbapenem-nonsusceptible A. baumannii harbouring the blaOXA-23-like gene. The presence of blaOXA-51-like and ISAba1 upstream of blaOXA-51 was not associated with nonsusceptibility to carbapenems. A. baumannii isolates harbouring ISAba1-blaADC (85.8 %) were significantly associated with nonsusceptibility to cephalosporins (P<0.0001). However, ISAba1-blaADC was not detected in a minority (<10 %) of the isolates which were nonsusceptible to cephalosporins. The acquired OXA-23 enzymes were responsible for nonsusceptibility to carbapenems in our clinical A. baumannii isolates and warrant continuous surveillance to prevent further dissemination of this antibiotic resistance gene. The presence of ISAba1 upstream of the blaADC was a determinant for cephalosporin resistance. However, the absence of this ISAba1-blaADC in some of the isolates may suggest other resistance mechanisms and need further investigation.
A quantitative real-time PCR (qPCR) followed by high resolution melting (HRM) analysis was developed for the differentiation of Mycobacterium species. Rapid differentiation of Mycobacterium species is necessary for the effective diagnosis and management of tuberculosis. In this study, the 16S rRNA gene was tested as the target since this has been identified as a suitable target for the identification of mycobacteria species. During the temperature gradient and primer optimization process, the melting peak (Tm) analysis was determined at a concentration of 50 ng DNA template and 0.3, 0.4 and 0.5 µM primer. The qPCR assay for the detection of other mycobacterial species was done at the Tm and primer concentration of 62 °C and 0.4 µM, respectively. The HRM analysis generated cluster patterns that were specific and sensitive to distinguished small sequence differences of the Mycobacterium species. This study suggests that the 16S rRNA-based real-time PCR followed by HRM analysis produced unique cluster patterns for species of Mycobacterium and could differentiate the closely related mycobacteria species.
Forty-five lactic acid bacteria (LAB) were isolated from the vaginal specimens of healthy fertile women, and the identities of the bacteria were confirmed by sequencing of their 16S rDNA genes. Among these bacteria, only four isolates were able to resist and survive in low pH, bile salts and simulated in vitro digestion conditions. Lactococcus lactis 2HL, Enterococcus durans 6HL, Lactobacillus acidophilus 36YL and Lactobacillus plantarum 5BL showed the best resistance to these conditions. These strains were evaluated further to assess their ability to adhere to human intestinal Caco-2 cells. Lactococcus lactis 2HL and E. durans 6HL were the most adherent strains. In vitro tests under neutralized pH proved the antimicrobial activity of both strains. Results revealed that the growth of Escherichia coli O26, Staphylococcus aureus and Shigella flexneri was suppressed by both LAB strains. The antibiotic susceptibility tests showed that these strains were sensitive to all nine antibiotics: vancomycin, tetracycline, ampicillin, penicillin, gentamicin, erythromycin, clindamycin, sulfamethoxazole and chloramphenicol. These data suggest that E. durans 6HL and Lactococcus lactis 2HL could be examined further for their useful properties and could be developed as new probiotics.
Antibiotic resistance is increasing worldwide, and it has been regarded as the main factor reducing the efficacy of Helicobacter pylori therapy. The aim of this study was to determine the phenotype and genotype of antibiotic-resistant strains of H. pylori in the Malaysian population and to evaluate the impact of antibiotic resistance to eradication outcome. One hundred and sixty-one H. pylori isolates were analysed in this study. Metronidazole, clarithromycin, fluoroquinolone, amoxicillin and tetracycline susceptibilities were determined by Etest. PCR followed by DNA sequencing was carried out to determine mutations. The medical records of the patients infected with resistant strains were reviewed to determine the eradication outcome. Metronidazole resistance was encountered in 36.6 % of H. pylori isolates, whereas clarithromycin and fluoroquinolone resistance was observed in 1.2 and 1.9 % of isolates, respectively. All strains tested were susceptible to amoxicillin and tetracycline. Frameshift and nonsense mutations in rdxA and frxA genes resulting in stop codons contributed to metronidazole resistance, which leads to reduced eradication efficacy. A2142G and A2143G mutations of 23S rRNA were identified as causing failure of the eradication therapy. Mutation at either codon 87 or 91 of the gyrA gene was identified in fluoroquinolone-resistant strains. However, the effect of resistance could not be assessed. This study showed that frameshift and nonsense mutations in rdxA or frxA genes and point mutations in the 23S rRNA affected the efficacy of H. pylori eradication therapy.
Given that Campylobacter jejuni is recognized as the most common cause of bacterial gastroenteritis worldwide, recent findings showing comparable levels of Campylobacter concisus in patients with gastroenteritis would suggest that this bacterium is clinically important. The prevalence and abundance of Campylobacter concisus in stool samples collected from patients with acute gastroenteritis was examined using quantitative real-time PCR. The associated virulence determinants exotoxin 9 and zonula occludens toxin DNA were detected for Campylobacter concisus-infected samples using real-time PCR. Campylobacter concisus was detected at high prevalence in patients with gastroenteritis (49.7 %), higher than that observed for Campylobacter jejuni (∼5 %). The levels of Campylobacter concisus were putatively classified into clinically relevant and potentially transient subgroups based on a threshold developed using Campylobacter jejuni levels, as the highly sensitive real-time PCR probably detected transient passage of the bacterium from the oral cavity. A total of 18 % of patients were found to have clinically relevant levels of Campylobacter concisus, a significant number of which also had high levels of one of the virulence determinants. Of these patients, 78 % were found to have no other gastrointestinal pathogen identified in the stool, which strongly suggests a role for Campylobacter concisus in the aetiology of gastroenteritis in these patients. These results emphasize the need for diagnostic laboratories to employ identification protocols for emerging Campylobacter species. Clinical follow-up in patients presenting with high levels of Campylobacter concisus in the intestinal tract is needed, given that it has been associated with more chronic sequelae.
This study investigated 147 multidrug-resistant Enterobacteriaceae and Pseudomonas aeruginosa isolates from hospitalized patients in Malaysia. Class 1 integrons were the most dominant class identified (45.6%). Three isolates were shown to contain class 2 integrons (2.0%), whilst one isolate harboured both class 1 and 2 integrons. No class 3 integrons were detected in this study. In addition, the sul1 gene was amplified in 35% of isolates and was significantly associated with the presence of integrase genes in an integron structure. RFLP and DNA sequencing analyses revealed the presence of 19 different cassette arrays among the detected integrons. The most common gene cassettes were those encoding resistance towards aminoglycosides (aad) and trimethoprim (dfr). As far as is known, this study is the first to identify integron-carrying cassette arrays such as aadA2-linF, aacC3-cmlA5 and aacA4-catB8-aadA1 in the Malaysian population. Patients' age was demonstrated as a significant risk factor for the acquisition of integrons (P=0.028). Epidemiological typing using PFGE also demonstrated a clonal relationship among isolates carrying identical gene cassettes in Klebsiella pneumoniae and P. aeruginosa but not in Escherichia coli isolates.
Entamoeba histolytica is the only Entamoeba species that causes amoebiasis in humans. Approximately 50 million people are infected, with 100, 000 deaths annually in endemic countries. Molecular diagnosis of Entamoeba histolytica is important to differentiate it from the morphologically identical Entamoeba dispar to avoid unnecessary medication. Conventional molecular diagnostic tests require trained personnel, cold-chain transportation and/or are storage-dependent, which make them user-unfriendly. The aim of this study was to develop a thermostabilized, one-step, nested, tetraplex PCR assay for the detection of Entamoeba histolytica, Entamoeba dispar and Entamoeba species in cold-chain-free and ready-to-use form. The PCR test was designed based on the Entamoeba small subunit rRNA (SSU-rRNA) gene, which detects the presence of any Entamoeba species, and simultaneously can be used to differentiate Entamoeba histolytica from Entamoeba dispar. In addition, a pair of primers was designed to serve as an internal amplification control to help identify inhibitors in the samples. All PCR reagents together with the designed primers were thermostabilized by lyophilization and were stable at 24 °C for at least 6 months. The limit of detection of the tetraplex PCR was found to be 39 pg DNA or 1000 cells for Entamoeba histolytica and 78 pg DNA or 1000 cells for Entamoeba dispar, and the specificity was 100 %. In conclusion, this cold-chain-free, thermostabilized, one-step, nested, multiplex PCR assay was found to be efficacious in differentiating Entamoeba histolytica from other non-pathogenic Entamoeba species.
In this study, 90 non-replicate imipenem-resistant Pseudomonas aeruginosa (IRPA) Malaysian isolates collected between October 2005 and March 2008 were subjected to a screening test for detection of the integron and the gene cassette. Class 1 integrons were detected in 54 IRPA clinical isolates, whilst three isolates contained class 2 integrons. Analysis of the gene cassettes associated with the class 1 integrons showed the detection of accC1 in isolates carrying bla(IMP-7) and aacA7 in isolates carrying bla(VIM-2). aadA6 was detected in two isolates carrying bla(IMP-4). Using random amplification of polymorphic DNA analysis, 14 PCR fingerprint patterns were generated from the 32 isolates carrying metallo-β-lactamase (MBL) genes (35.5 %), whilst 20 patterns were generated from the 58 non-MBL gene isolates (64.4 %). Based on the differences in the fingerprinting patterns, two clusters (A and B) were identified among the MBL-producing isolates. Cluster A comprised 18 isolates (56 %) carrying the bla(VIM) gene, whereas cluster B comprised 14 (44 %) isolates carrying the bla(IMP) gene. The non-MBL isolates were divided into clusters C and D. Cluster C comprised 22 non-MBL isolates harbouring class 1 integrons, whilst cluster D consisted of three isolates carrying class 2 integrons. These findings suggest that the class 1 integron is widespread among P. aeruginosa isolated in Malaysia and that characterization of cassette arrays of integrons will be a useful epidemiological tool to study the evolution of multidrug resistance and the dissemination of antibiotic resistance genes.
In this study, six clinical isolates (two from blood, two from urine and one each from a bronchoalveolar lavage and a vaginal swab) were identified as Candida rugosa based on carbohydrate assimilation profiles using API 20C AUX and ID32 C kits (bioMérieux). Sequence analysis of the D1/D2 domain of the yeasts differentiated the isolates into two subgroups, A and B (three isolates per subgroup), which were closely related (99.1-99.6 % nucleotide similarity) to C. rugosa strain ATCC 10571. Compared with the C. rugosa type strain, the intergenic transcribed spacer (ITS) nucleotide similarity for subgroup A was only 89.2 % (29 mismatches and one deletion) and for subgroup B was 93.7 % (20 mismatches). All isolates grew green colonies on Oxoid Chromogenic Candida Agar, with darker pigmentation observed for subgroup A. All isolates were able to grow at 25-42 °C but not at 45 °C. The isolates had identical enzymic profiles, as determined by API ZYM (bioMérieux) analysis, and produced proteinase. High amphotericin MICs (≥1 µg ml(-1)) were noted for two isolates from each subgroup. Dose-dependent susceptibility to fluconazole (MIC 32 µg ml(-1)) was noted in a blood isolate. The biofilms of the isolates demonstrated increased resistance to amphotericin and fluconazole. The greater ITS sequence variability of subgroup A isolates is in support of this yeast being recognized as a distinct species; however, further verification using more sophisticated molecular approaches is required. A sequence comparison study suggested the association of subgroup A with environmental sources and subgroup B with clinical sources. Accurate identification and antifungal susceptibility testing of C. rugosa are important in view of its decreased susceptibility to amphotericin and fluconazole. The ITS region has been shown to be a valuable region for differentiation of closely related subgroups of C. rugosa.
The in vitro antifungal susceptibilities of 159 clinical isolates of Candida species from patients with invasive candidiasis in Kuala Lumpur Hospital, Malaysia, were determined against amphotericin B, fluconazole, voriconazole, itraconazole and caspofungin. The most common species were Candida albicans (71 isolates), Candida parapsilosis (42 isolates), Candida tropicalis (27 isolates) and Candida glabrata (12 isolates). The susceptibility tests were carried out using an E-test. The MIC breakpoints were based on Clinical Laboratory Standards Institute criteria. Amphotericin B and voriconazole showed the best activities against all the isolates tested, with MIC(90) values of ≤1 µg ml(-1) for all major species. Only one Candida lusitaniae isolate was resistant to amphotericin B, and all the isolates were susceptible to voriconazole. In total, six isolates were resistant to fluconazole, comprising two isolates of C. albicans, two of C. parapsilosis, one C. tropicalis and one C. glabrata, and all of these isolates showed cross-resistance to itraconazole. The MIC(90) of itraconazole was highest for C. glabrata and C. parapsilosis. Caspofungin was active against most of the isolates except for five isolates of C. parapsilosis. The MIC(90) of caspofungin against C. parapsilosis was 3 µg ml(-1). In conclusion, amphotericin B remains the most active antifungal agent against most Candida species except for C. lusitaniae. Voriconazole is the best alternative for fluconazole- or itraconizole-resistant isolates. Although five of the C. parapsilosis isolates showed in vitro resistance to caspofungin, more clinical correlation studies need to be carried out to confirm the significance of these findings. Currently, despite the increase in usage of antifungals in our hospitals, especially in the management of febrile neutropenia patients, the antifungal-resistance problem among clinically important Candida isolates in Kuala Lumpur Hospital is not yet worrying. However, continued antifungal-susceptibility surveillance needs to be conducted to monitor the antifungal-susceptibility trends of Candida species and other opportunistic fungal pathogens.
A multiplex PCR assay was developed for the identification of major types and subtypes of staphylococcal cassette chromosome mec (SCCmec) in meticillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) strains. The method uses a novel 9 valent multiplex PCR plus two primer pairs for S. aureus identification and detection of meticillin resistance. All 389 clinical MRSA isolates from Malaysia and 18 European isolates from the Harmony collection harbouring different SCCmec types that we tested were correctly characterized by our PCR assay. SCCmec type III and V were by far the most common types among both hospital- and community-acquired Malaysian MRSA isolates, with an apparent emergence of MRSA harbouring the IVh type.
Vibrio cholerae has caused severe outbreaks of cholera worldwide with thousands of recorded deaths annually. Molecular diagnosis for cholera has become increasingly important for rapid detection of cholera as the conventional methods are time-consuming and labour intensive. However, traditional PCR tests still require cold-chain transportation and storage as well as trained personnel to perform, which makes them user-unfriendly. The aim of this study was to develop a thermostabilized triplex PCR test for cholera which is in a ready-to-use form and requires no cold chain. The PCR test specifically detects both toxigenic and non-toxigenic strains of V. cholerae based on the cholera toxin A (ctxA) and outer-membrane lipoprotein (lolB) genes. The thermostabilized triplex PCR also incorporates an internal amplification control that helps to check for PCR inhibitors in samples. PCR reagents and the specific primers were lyophilized into a pellet form in the presence of trehalose, which acts as an enzyme stabilizer. The triplex PCR was validated with 174 bacteria-spiked stool specimens and was found to be 100 % sensitive and specific. The stability of the thermostabilized PCR was evaluated using the Q10 method and it was found to be stable for approximately 7 months at 24 °C. The limit of detection of the thermostabilized triplex PCR assay was 2×10(4) c.f.u. at the bacterial cell level and 100 pg DNA at the genomic DNA level, comparable to conventional PCR methods. In conclusion, a rapid thermostabilized triplex PCR assay was developed for detecting toxigenic and non-toxigenic V. cholerae which requires minimal pipetting steps and is cold chain-free.
In this study, PCR-RFLP analysis (PRA) targeting hsp65 and rpoB gene regions was evaluated for the identification of mycobacterial species isolated from Malaysian patients. Overall, the hsp65 PRA identified 92.2 % of 90 isolates compared to 85.6 % by the rpoB PRA. With 47 rapidly growing species, the hsp65 PRA identified fewer (89.4 %) species than the rpoB PRA (95.7 %), but with 23 slow-growing species the reverse was true (91.3 % identification by the hsp65 PRA but only 52.5 % by the rpoB PRA). There were 16 isolates with discordant PRA results, which were resolved by 16S rRNA and hsp65 gene sequence analysis. The findings in this study suggest that the hsp65 PRA is more useful than the rpoB PRA for the identification of Mycobacterium species, particularly with the slow-growing members of the genus. In addition, this study reports 5 and 12 novel restriction patterns for inclusion in the hsp65 and rpoB PRA algorithms, respectively.
The incidence of candidaemia among immunocompromised patients in Malaysia is increasing at an alarming rate. Isolation of clinical strains that are resistant to fluconazole has also risen markedly. We report here the repeated isolation of Candida tropicalis from the blood of a neonatal patient with Hirschsprung's disease. In vitro fluconazole susceptibility tests of the eight isolates obtained at different time points showed that seven of the isolates were resistant and one isolate was scored as susceptible dose-dependent. Random amplification of polymorphic DNA fingerprinting of the isolates using three primers and subsequent phylogenetic analysis revealed that these isolates were highly similar strains having minor genetic divergence, with a mean pairwise similarity coefficient of 0.893+/-0.041. The source of the infectious agent was thought to be the central venous catheter, as culture of its tip produced fluconazole-resistant C. tropicalis. This study demonstrates the utility of applying molecular epidemiology techniques to complement traditional mycological culture and drug susceptibility tests for accurate and appropriate management of recurrent candidaemia and highlights the need for newer antifungals that can combat the emergence of fluconazole-resistant C. tropicalis strains.
Vancomycin-resistant enterococci (VRE) are formidable organisms renowned for their ability to cause infections with limited treatment options and their potential for transferring resistance genes to other Gram-positive bacteria. Usually associated with nosocomial infections, VRE are rarely reported as a cause of community-acquired infection. Presented here is a case of community-acquired infection due to vancomycin-resistant Enterococcus faecium. The patient had been applying herbal leaves topically to his cheek to treat a buccal space abscess, resulting in a burn of the overlying skin. From pus aspirated via the skin a pure culture of E. faecium was grown that was resistant to vancomycin with a MIC of >256 microg ml-1 by the E test and resistant to teicoplanin by disc diffusion, consistent with the VanA phenotype. The organism was suspected of contaminating the leaf and infecting the patient via the burnt skin. This case highlights the need for further studies on the community prevalence of VRE among humans and animals to define unrecognized silent reservoirs for VRE, which may pose a threat to public health.