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Sodium salicylate interferes with quorum-sensing-regulated virulence in chronic wound isolates of Pseudomonas aeruginosa in simulated wound fluid.

Journal article
Authors Erik Gerner
Sofia Almqvist
Maria Werthén
Margarita Trobos
Published in Journal of medical microbiology
Volume 69
Issue 5
Pages 767-80
ISSN 1473-5644
Publication year 2020
Published at Institute of Clinical Sciences, Department of Biomaterials
Pages 767-80
Language en
Subject categories Biomaterials Science, Medical microbiology


Introduction. An important factor for delayed healing of chronic wounds is the presence of bacteria. Quorum sensing (QS), a cell density-dependent signalling system, controls the production of many virulence factors and biofilm formation in Pseudomonas aeruginosa.Aim. Inhibition by sodium salicylate (NaSa) of QS-regulated virulence expression was evaluated in QS-characterized clinical wound isolates of P. aeruginosa, cultured in serum-containing medium.Methodology. Fourteen clinical P. aeruginosa strains from chronic wounds were evaluated for the production of QS signals and virulence factors. Inhibition of QS by NaSa in P. aeruginosa clinical strains, wild-type PAO1 and QS reporter strains was evaluated using in vitro assays for the production of biofilm, pyocyanin, siderophores, alkaline protease, elastase and stapholytic protease.Results. Six clinical strains secreted several QS-associated virulence factors and signal molecules and two were negative for all factors. Sub-inhibitory concentrations of NaSa downregulated the expression of the QS-related genes lasB, rhlA and pqsA and reduced the secretion of several virulence factors in PAO1 and clinical strains cultured in serum. Compared to serum-free media, the presence of serum increased the expression of QS genes and production of siderophores and pyocyanin but decreased biofilm formation.Conclusions.Pseudomonas aeruginosa from chronic wound infections showed different virulence properties. While very few strains showed no QS activity, approximately half were highly virulent and produced QS signals, suggesting that the targeting of QS is a viable and relevant strategy for infection control. NaSa showed activity as a QS-inhibitor by lowering the virulence phenotypes and QS signals at both transcriptional and extracellular levels.

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