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Cigarette Smoke Exposure Promotes Virulence of Pseudomonas aeruginosa and Induces Resistance to Neutrophil Killing

 Jason Chien  ;  John H Hwang  ;  Sedtavut Nilaad  ;  Jorge A Masso-Silva  ;  Sae Jeong Ahn  ;  Elisa K McEachern  ;  Alexander Moshensky  ;  Min-Kwang Byun  ;  Laura E Crotty Alexander 
 INFECTION AND IMMUNITY, Vol.88(11) : e00527-20, 2020-10 
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Pseudomonas aeruginosa ; bacterial virulence ; biofilm ; cigarette smoke ; neutrophil ; oxidative burst ; pneumonia
It is widely known that cigarette smoke damages host defenses and increases susceptibility to bacterial infections. Pseudomonas aeruginosa, a Gram-negative bacterium that commonly colonizes the airways of smokers and patients with chronic lung disease, can cause pneumonia and sepsis and can trigger exacerbations of lung diseases. Pseudomonas aeruginosa colonizing airways is consistently exposed to inhaled cigarette smoke. Here, we investigated whether cigarette smoke alters the ability of this clinically significant microbe to bypass host defenses and cause invasive disease. We found that cigarette smoke extract (CSE) exposure enhances resistance to human neutrophil killing, but this increase in pathogenicity was not due to resistance to neutrophil extracellular traps. Instead, Pseudomonas aeruginosa exposed to CSE (CSE-PSA) had increased resistance to oxidative stress, which correlated with increased expression of tpx, a gene essential for defense against oxidative stress. In addition, exposure to CSE induced enhanced biofilm formation and resistance to the antibiotic levofloxacin. Finally, CSE-PSA had increased virulence in a model of pneumonia, with 0% of mice infected with CSE-PSA alive at day 6, while 28% of controls survived. Altogether, these data show that cigarette smoke alters the phenotype of P. aeruginosa, increasing virulence and making it less susceptible to killing by neutrophils and more capable of causing invasive disease. These findings provide further explanation of the refractory nature of respiratory illnesses in smokers and highlight cigarette smoking as a potential driver of virulence in this important airway pathogen.
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1. College of Medicine (의과대학) > Dept. of Internal Medicine (내과학교실) > 1. Journal Papers
Yonsei Authors
Byun, Min Kwang(변민광) ORCID logo https://orcid.org/0000-0003-1525-1745
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