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Article Reference Frequent carriage of resistance mechanisms to β-lactams and biofilm formation in Haemophilus influenzae causing treatment failure and recurrent otitis media in young children.
Non-typeable Haemophilus influenzae are a major cause of acute otitis media (AOM), including chronic and recurrent otitis in young children. The objective of this study was to determine whether non-typeable H. influenzae isolates causing these infections produce biofilms and carry resistance mechanisms to β-lactams.
Article Reference Divergent mucosal and systemic responses in children in response to acute otitis media.
Acute otitis media (AOM), induced by respiratory bacteria, is a significant cause of children seeking medical attention worldwide. Some children are highly prone to AOMs, suffering three to four recurrent infections per year (prone). We previously determined that this population of children could have diminished anti-bacterial immune responses in peripheral blood that could fail to limit bacterial colonization in the nasopharynx (NP). Here, we examined local NP and middle ear (ME) responses and compared them to peripheral blood to examine whether the mucosa responses were similar to the peripheral blood responses. Moreover, we examined differences in effector cytokine responses between these two populations in the NP, ME and blood compartments at the onset of an AOM caused by either Streptococcus pneumoniae or non-typeable Haemophilus influenzae. We found that plasma effector cytokines patterned antigen-recall responses of CD4 T cells, with lower responses detected in prone children. ME cytokine levels did not mirror blood, but were more similar to the NP. Interferon (IFN)-γ and interleukin (IL)-17 in the NP were similar in prone and non-prone children, while IL-2 production was higher in prone children. The immune responses diverged in the mucosal and blood compartments at the onset of a bacterial ME infection, thus highlighting differences between local and systemic immune responses that could co-ordinate anti-bacterial immune responses in young children.
Article Reference Selection for phase variation of LOS biosynthetic genes frequently occurs in progression of non-typeable Haemophilus influenzae infection from the nasopharynx to the middle ear of human patients.
Surface structures in Haemophilus influenzae are subject to rapid ON/OFF switching of expression, a process termed phase variation. We analyse tetranucleotide repeats controlling phase variation in lipo-oligosaccharide (LOS) genes of H. influenzae in paired isolates from both the nasopharynx and middle ears of paediatric patients with chronic or recurrent otitis media. A change in expression of at least one of the seven phase variable LOS biosynthesis genes was seen in 12 of the 21 strain pairs. Several strains showed switching of expression in multiple LOS genes, consistent with a key role for phase variable LOS biosynthetic genes in human infection.
Article Reference Prevalence, distribution, and sequence diversity of hmwA among commensal and otitis media non-typeable Haemophilus influenzae.
Nontypeable Haemophilus influenzae (NTHi) are Gram-negative coccobacilli that colonize the human pharynx, their only known natural reservoir. Adherence to the host epithelium facilitates NTHi colonization and marks one of the first steps in NTHi pathogenesis. Epithelial cell attachment is mediated, in part, by a pair of high molecular weight (HMW) adhesins that are highly immunogenic, antigenically diverse, and display a wide range of amino acid diversity both within and between isolates. In this study, the prevalence of hmwA, which encodes the HMW adhesin, was determined for a collection of 170 NTHi isolates recovered from the middle ears of children with otitis media (OM isolates) or throats or nasopharynges of healthy children (commensal isolates) from Finland, Israel, and the U.S. Overall, hmwA was detected in 61% of NTHi isolates and was significantly more prevalent (P=0.004) among OM isolates than among commensal isolates; the prevalence ratio comparing hmwA prevalence among ear isolates with that of commensal isolates was 1.47 (95% CI (1.12, 1.92)). Ninety-five percent (98/103) of the hmwA-positive NTHi isolates possessed two hmw loci. To advance our understanding of hmwA binding sequence diversity, we determined the DNA sequence of the hmwA binding region of 33 isolates from this collection. The average amino acid identity across all hmwA sequences was 62%. Phylogenetic analyses of the hmwA binding revealed four distinct sequence clusters, and the majority of hmwA sequences (83%) belonged to one of two dominant sequence clusters. hmwA sequences did not cluster by chromosomal location, geographic region, or disease status.
Article Reference Acute mastoiditis in children under 15 years of age in Southern Israel following the introduction of pneumococcal conjugate vaccines: a 4-year retrospective study (2009-2012).
To describe the epidemiologic, microbiologic, clinical and therapeutic aspects of acute mastoiditis (AM) in children <15 years of age during the 4-year period (2009-2012) following the introduction of pneumococcal conjugate vaccines in Israel.
Article Reference Ferric uptake regulator and its role in the pathogenesis of nontypeable Haemophilus influenzae.
Nontypeable Haemophilus influenzae (NTHi) is a commensal microorganism of the human nasopharynx, and yet is also an opportunistic pathogen of the upper and lower respiratory tracts. Host microenvironments influence gene expression patterns, likely critical for NTHi persistence. The host sequesters iron as a mechanism to control microbial growth, and yet iron limitation influences gene expression and subsequent production of proteins involved in iron homeostasis. Careful regulation of iron uptake, via the ferric uptake regulator Fur, is essential in multiple bacteria, including NTHi. We hypothesized therefore that Fur contributes to iron homeostasis in NTHi, is critical for bacterial persistence, and likely regulates expression of virulence factors. Toward this end, fur was deleted in the prototypic NTHi clinical isolate, 86-028NP, and we assessed gene expression regulated by Fur. As expected, expression of the majority of genes that encode proteins with predicted roles in iron utilization was repressed by Fur. However, 14 Fur-regulated genes encode proteins with no known function, and yet may contribute to iron utilization or other biological functions. In a mammalian model of human otitis media, we determined that Fur was critical for bacterial persistence, indicating an important role for Fur-mediated iron homeostasis in disease progression. These data provide a profile of genes regulated by Fur in NTHi and likely identify additional regulatory pathways involved in iron utilization. Identification of such pathways will increase our understanding of how this pathogen can persist within host microenvironments, as a common commensal and, importantly, as a pathogen with significant clinical impact.
Article Reference IgG responses to Pneumococcal and Haemophilus influenzae protein antigens are not impaired in children with a history of recurrent acute otitis media.
Vaccines including conserved antigens from Streptococcus pneumoniae and nontypeable Haemophilus influenzae (NTHi) have the potential to reduce the burden of acute otitis media. Little is known about the antibody response to such antigens in young children with recurrent acute otitis media, however, it has been suggested antibody production may be impaired in these children.
Article Reference Effect of low-intensity focused ultrasound on the middle ear in a mouse model of acute otitis media.
We hypothesized that low-intensity focused ultrasound (LIFU) increases vessel permeability and antibacterial drug activity in the mouse middle ear. We determined appropriate settings by applying LIFU to mouse ears with the external auditory canal filled with normal saline and performed histologic and immunohistologic examination. Acute otitis media was induced in mice with nontypable Haemophilus influenzae, and they were given ampicillin (50, 10, or 2 mg/kg) intraperitoneally once daily for 3 days with or without LIFU (1.0 W/cm(2), 20% duty cycle, 30 s). In the LIFU(+) groups receiving the 2- and 10-mg/kg doses, viable bacteria counts, number of inflammatory cells and IL-1β and TNF-α levels in middle ear effusion were significantly lower than in the LIFU(-) groups on the same doses. Severity of AOM also tended to be reduced more in the LIFU(+) groups than in the LIFU(-) groups. LIFU application with antibiotics may be effective for middle ear infection.
Article Reference Increased biofilm formation by nontypeable Haemophilus influenzae isolates from patients with invasive disease or otitis media versus strains recovered from cases of respiratory infections.
Biofilm formation by nontypeable (NT) Haemophilus influenzae remains a controversial topic. Nevertheless, biofilm-like structures have been observed in the middle-ear mucosa of experimental chinchilla models of otitis media (OM). To date, there have been no studies of biofilm formation in large collections of clinical isolates. This study aimed to investigate the initial adhesion to a solid surface and biofilm formation by NT H. influenzae by comparing isolates from healthy carriers, those with noninvasive respiratory disease, and those with invasive respiratory disease. We used 352 isolates from patients with nonbacteremic community-acquired pneumonia (NB-CAP), chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), OM, and invasive disease and a group of healthy colonized children. We then determined the speed of initial adhesion to a solid surface by the BioFilm ring test and quantified biofilm formation by crystal violet staining. Isolates from different clinical sources displayed high levels of biofilm formation on a static solid support after growth for 24 h. We observed clear differences in initial attachment and biofilm formation depending on the pathology associated with NT H. influenzae isolation, with significantly increased biofilm formation for NT H. influenzae isolates collected from patients with invasive disease and OM compared with NT H. influenzae isolates from patients with NB-CAP or COPD and healthy colonized subjects. In all cases, biofilm structures were detached by proteinase K treatment, suggesting an important role for proteins in the initial adhesion and static biofilm formation measured by crystal violet staining.
Article Reference A fluorescent multiplexed bead-based immunoassay (FMIA) for quantitation of IgG against Streptococcus pneumoniae, Haemophilus influenzae and Moraxella catarrhalis protein antigens.
Streptococcus pneumoniae, Haemophilus influenzae, and Moraxella catarrhalis are pathogens commonly associated with infectious diseases in childhood. This study aimed to develop a fluorescent multiplexed bead-based immunoassay (FMIA) using recombinant proteins for the quantitation of serum IgG antibodies against these bacteria. Eight pneumococcal proteins (Ply, CbpA, PspA1, PspA2, PcpA, PhtD, SP1732-3 and SP2216-1), 3 proteins of H. influenzae (NTHi Protein D, NTHi0371-1, NTHi0830), and 5 proteins of M. catarrhalis (MC Omp CD, MC_RH4_2506, MC_RH4_1701, MC_RH4_3729-1, MC_RH4_4730) were used to develop the FMIA. Optimal coupling concentrations for each protein, comparison of singleplex and multiplex assays, specificity, reproducibility, and correlation to ELISA for six pneumococcal antigens were determined for validation. FMIA was then used to analyze acute and convalescent paired serum samples of 50 children with non-severe pneumonia. The coupling concentrations varied for different antigens, ranging from 1.6 to 32μg of protein/million beads. Correlation between singleplexed and multiplexed assays was excellent, with R≥0.987. The FMIA was specific, reaching >92% homologous inhibition for all specificities; heterologous inhibition ≥20% was found only in six cases. The assay was repeatable, with averages of intra-assay variation ≤10.5%, day-to-day variation ≤9.7% and variation between technicians ≤9.1%. Comparison with ELISA for pneumococcal antigens demonstrated good correlation with R ranging from 0.854 (PspA2) to 0.976 (PcpA). The samples from children showed a wide range of antibody concentrations and increases in convalescent samples. In conclusion, the FMIA was sensitive, specific, and repeatable, using small amounts of recombinant proteins and sera to detect antibodies against S. pneumoniae, H. influenzae and M. catarrhalis. The methodology would be suitable for studies investigating etiological diagnosis and in experimental vaccine studies.
Article Reference Urease operon and urease activity in commensal and disease-causing nontypeable Haemophilus influenzae.
The ure operon was significantly more prevalent in Haemophilus influenzae isolates causing otitis media and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD)-associated bronchitis than in those from throats of healthy individuals (97% versus 78.1%, P < 0.001). Strains lacking the ure operon are over 8 times more likely to be from the throat than either otitis media or COPD isolates.