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Increased airway iron as a potential factor in the persistence of Pseudomonas aeruginosa infection in cystic fibrosis

journal contribution
posted on 2023-05-16, 21:11 authored by Reid, DW, Carroll, V, O'May, C, Alan ChampionAlan Champion, Kirov, SM
Iron availability is critical to many bacteria and increased iron has been described in airway secretions in cystic fibrosis (CF). The main aim of the present study was to assess the relationship between iron in CF sputum and the quantitative bacterial burden. Iron, ferritin and total cell counts (TCC) were assessed in sputum samples obtained from 15 clinically stable CF patients chronically infected with Pseudomonas aeruginosa. Sputum samples were also obtained at the commencement of episodes of acute exacerbation in 10 subjects and analyses were repeated in six of these exacerbation cases after l.v. antibiotic treatment. The relationship between iron indices and the presence of P. aeruginosa, as well as total anaerobic bacterial load, was determined. Sputum was also obtained from 10 CF patients with no evidence of infection with P. aeruginosa and 11 normal healthy controls. Sputum iron, ferritin and TCC were significantly elevated in all CF patients, even in those not infected with P. aeruginosa, compared with healthy controls. There was a strong positive relationship between sputum iron and P. aeruginosa in clinically stable patients, but not in samples obtained during an acute exacerbation. There was no relationship between sputum iron and anaerobic bacterial load. Antibiotic treatment significantly reduced sputum TCC and anaerobic bacterial load, but not iron, ferritin or the presence of P. aeruginosa during an exacerbation. In conclusion, the present study suggests that increased airway iron may be important to Pseudomonas aeruginosa persistence in cystic fibrosis. Copyright © ERS Journals Ltd 2007.


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The European Respiratory Journal








Menzies Institute for Medical Research


European Respiratory Society

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