|dc.description||Doctor of Philosophy||en|
|dc.description.abstract||Cystic fibrosis (CF) is the most common inherited lethal disorder among Caucasian populations. Chronic pulmonary infections, particularly from Pseudomonas aeruginosa, are the major determinant of the morbidity and mortality of people with CF. It is generally accepted that people with CF acquire this pathogen independently from their surrounding environment, and that individual CF patients carry unique strains different from others. The spread of this pathogen from patient to patient is thought to be rare and occurs particularly among closely contacted cases such as CF siblings. However, over the past decade, there have been several reports of an emergence of clonal P. aeruginosa strains commonly found infecting a number of CF patients. One such report is from the CF paediatric clinic at the Royal Children’s Hospital in Melbourne in which more than half of the patients were infected with a single strain or clone, subsequently called Australian epidemic strain 1 or AES-1. A preliminary survey showed that AES-1 had spread extensively along the Australian eastern seaboard among CF patients attending other CF centres in Melbourne, Sydney and Brisbane, including adult patients at the Royal Prince Alfred Hospital (RPAH), Sydney. Another clonal strain, subsequently called AES-2, was identified in both CF adults and children at the Prince Charles Hospital and the Royal Children’s Hospital, in Brisbane. The total extent of prevalence of the AES-1 and AES-2 strains at the RPAH as well as the clinical status of patients who carried these strains was unknown. Moreover, the pathogenicity of these two clonal strains had not been investigated.
The studies presented in this thesis investigated the prevalence of these clonal strains among CF patients attending the adult CF clinic at RPAH, Sydney by using pulsed-field gel electrophoresis. Overall, 50% of 112 patients with P. aeruginosa were found to be infected with clonal strains. The AES-1 and AES-2 strains were identified in 38% and 5% of the patients respectively. Two new clonal strains, called Sydney-1 and Sydney-2, were also identified. Patients with clonal strains had a significant increase in their number of exacerbations and hospitalisation days, and tended to have lower pulmonary functions when compared to patients infected with non-clonal strains. By using a variety of bioassays to examine the pathogenicity of the clonal and non-clonal strains, it was found that both AES-1 and AES-2 produced more virulence factors and were more resistant to antibiotics when compared to the non-clonal strains. AES-1 and AES-2 were associated with increased production of proteases, including elastase, alkaline protease and protease IV. Overall the results presented in this thesis suggest that there may be a link between virulence and transmissibility of this pathogen.
The studies presented in this thesis also compared the biofilm forming capacities of the AES-1 and non-clonal isolates. AES-1 was shown to have greater biofilm-forming capacity than the non-clonal strains, when they were grown on a glass surface, suggesting a possible association between clonality and biofilm formation. A model for the study of bacteria grown in conditions similar to CF sputum was also developed. P. aeruginosa grown in this model was found to develop into clumps which may be comparable to the biofilm structure in the CF lung. This model was shown to be beneficial for transcriptomic and proteomic studies which are underway within the research group.
AES-1 was also found to have phenotypic variations between isolates. By applying the amplified fragment length polymorphism technique, more subtypes of this clone were revealed. However, these detected subtypes did not correlate with the different phenotypes, suggesting minor mutations such as single point polymorphisms may be responsible for the phenotypic diversity within the clone.
The final part of this thesis was devoted to examining the safety of a novel CF treatment: hypertonic saline (HS) inhalation. HS was shown to increase airway mucociliary clearance, while increased osmolarity associated with the use of HS was also shown to have an inhibitory effect on the formation of biofilms. Findings in this study proved that there was no evidence of strain selection in patients who received the long-term treatment with HS. The study also demonstrated that AES-1 was significantly more persistent in the CF lung than the non-clonal strains.
The present thesis not only defines the clonal strains of P. aeruginosa and their implications for infected patients, but also provides a general understanding into the pathogenesis of both clonal and non-clonal strains infecting CF lungs.||en|
|dc.publisher||University of Sydney.||en|
|dc.publisher||Department of Infectious Diseases and Immunology||en|
|dc.rights||The author retains copyright of this thesis.||-|
|dc.title||Characterisation of genotypes and phenotypes of Pseudomonas aeruginosa infecting people with cystic fibrosis||en|
|Appears in Collections:||Sydney Digital Theses (Open Access)|