Plasmid-mediated resistance to expanded-spectrum cephalosporins among Enterobacter aerogenes strains

Johann D.D. Pitout, Kenneth S. Thomson, Nancy D. Hanson, Anton F. Ehrhardt, Philip Coudron, Christine C. Sanders

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86 Scopus citations


Resistance to expanded-spectrum cephalosporins commonly develops in Enterobacter aerogenes during therapy due to selection of mutants producing high levels of the chromosomal Bush group 1 β-lactamase. Recently, resistant strains producing plasmid-mediated extended-spectrum β-lactamases (ESBLs) have been isolated as well. A study was designed to investigate ESBL production among 31 clinical isolates of E. aerogenes from Richmond, Va., with decreased susceptibility to expanded-spectrum cephalosporins and a positive double-disk potentiation test. Antibiotic susceptibility was determined by standard disk diffusion and agar dilution procedures. β- Lactamases were investigated by an isoelectric focusing overlay technique which simultaneously determined isoelectric points (pIs) and substrate or inhibitor profiles. Decreased susceptibility to cefotaxime, ceftazidime, and aztreonam (MIC range, 1 to 64 μg/ml) was detected and associated with resistance to gentamicin and trimethoprim-sulfamethoxazole. All strains produced an inducible Bush group 1 β-lactamase (pI 8.3). Twenty-nine of the 31 isolates also produced an enzyme similar to SHV-4 (pI 7.8), while 1 isolate each produced an enzyme similar to SHV-3 (pI 6.9) and to SHV-5 (pI 8.2). The three different SHV-derived ESBLs were transferred by transconjugation to Escherichia coli C600N and amplified by PCR. Plasmid profiles of the clinical isolated showed a variety of different large plasmids. Because of the linkage of resistance to aminoglycosides and trimethoprim-sulfamethoxazole with ESBL production, it is possible that the usage of these drugs was responsible for selecting plasmid-mediated resistance to extended-spectrum cephalosporin in E. aerogenes. Furthermore, it is important that strains such as these be recognized, because they can be responsible for institutional spread of resistance genes.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)596-600
Number of pages5
JournalAntimicrobial agents and chemotherapy
Issue number3
StatePublished - Mar 1998

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Pharmacology
  • Pharmacology (medical)
  • Infectious Diseases


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