Journal Article

Spread of efflux pump-overexpressing, non-metallo-β-lactamase-producing, meropenem-resistant but ceftazidime-susceptible <i>Pseudomonas aeruginosa</i> in a region with <i>bla</i><sub>VIM</sub> endemicity

S. Pournaras, M. Maniati, N. Spanakis, A. Ikonomidis, P. T. Tassios, A. Tsakris, N. J. Legakis and A. N. Maniatis

in Journal of Antimicrobial Chemotherapy

Published on behalf of British Society for Antimicrobial Chemotherapy

Volume 56, issue 4, pages 761-764
Published in print October 2005 | ISSN: 0305-7453
Published online August 2005 | e-ISSN: 1460-2091 | DOI:
Spread of efflux pump-overexpressing, non-metallo-β-lactamase-producing, meropenem-resistant but ceftazidime-susceptible Pseudomonas aeruginosa in a region with blaVIM endemicity

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Objectives: To investigate the resistance mechanisms of meropenem-resistant, ceftazidime-susceptible Pseudomonas aeruginosa isolates, in a clinical setting where VIM-2 or VIM-4 metallo-β-lactamase (MBL)-producing pseudomonads are common.

Methods: During May to December 2003, 13 consecutive meropenem-resistant, ceftazidime-susceptible P. aeruginosa isolates were recovered from separate patients at the University Hospital of Larissa, Thessaly, Greece. The isolates were studied by Etest MBL, PCR for blaVIM, blaIMP and blaSPM genes and PFGE. Experiments were performed to detect synergy between meropenem or other antimicrobials and the efflux pump inhibitor carbonyl cyanide-m-chlorophenylhydrazone (CCCP). The isolates were also tested by PCR and RT–PCR for the expression of the genes mexB and mexY, which encode the efflux pumps MexAB-OprM and MexXY-OprM.

Results: Twelve of the isolates, belonging to six distinct PFGE types, gave negative results in the MBL Etest and lacked genes encoding MBLs but exhibited synergy between meropenem and CCCP, indicating that efflux pump activity contributed to the meropenem resistance. All 12 isolates were positive for mexB and 11 were also positive for mexY genes. RT–PCR showed that 10 and five isolates over-expressed mexB and mexY, respectively. One isolate was blaVIM-2-positive and did not show synergy with CCCP, or harbour mexB or mexY.

Conclusions: In our hospital, where MBL-producing P. aeruginosa were previously prevalent, meropenem resistance due to the overexpression of efflux pumps has also now emerged. Early recognition of this resistance mechanism should allow the use of alternative β-lactams, such as ceftazidime, which would be inactive even against phenotypically susceptible MBL producers.

Keywords: efflux pump inhibitor; CCCP; ceftazidime; RT–PCR; MexAB-OprM; MexXY-OprM

Journal Article.  1815 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Medical Oncology ; Critical Care

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