Effect of antibiotics on cellular stress generated in Shiga toxin-producing Escherichia coli O157:H7 and non-O157 biofilms

Natalia Angel Villegas, José Baronetti, Inés Albesa, Analía Etcheverría, M Cecilia Becerra, Nora L Padola, M Gabriela Paraje
Toxicology in Vitro: An International Journal Published in Association with BIBRA 2015, 29 (7): 1692-700
Shiga toxin-producing Escherichia coli (STEC) are important food-borne pathogens, with the main virulence factor of this bacterium being its capacity to secrete Shiga toxins (Stxs). Therefore, the use of certain antibiotics for the treatment of this infection, which induces the liberation of Stxs, is controversial. Reactive oxygen and nitrogen species are also involved in the pathogenesis of different diseases. The purpose of this study was to analyze the effects of antibiotics on biofilms of STEC and the relationships between cellular stress and the release of Stx. To this end, biofilms of reference and clinical strains were treated with antibiotics (ciprofloxacin, fosfomycin and rifaximin) and the production of oxidants, the antioxidant defense system and toxin release were evaluated. Ciprofloxacin altered the prooxidant-antioxidant balance, with a decrease of oxidant metabolites and an increase of superoxide dismutase and catalase activity, being associated with high-levels of Stx production. Furthermore, inhibition of oxidative stress by exogenous antioxidants was correlated with a reduction in the liberation of Stx, indicating the participation of this phenomenon in the release of this toxin. In contrast, fosfomycin and rifaximin produced less alteration with a minimal production of Stx. Our data show that treatment of biofilm-STEC with these antibiotics induces oxidative stress-mediated release of Stx.

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