Pseudomonas aeruginosa is the leading cause of chronic lung infection and following pulmonary worsening of cystic fibrosis patients. To verify whether bacterial modifications regarding motility, mucoidy, and serum susceptibility proceeded from an adaptation to chronic infection or a replacement with a new strain, sequential P. aeruginosa isolates of known phenotype collected from 5 cystic fibrosis patients were typed by pulsed-field gel electophoresis (PFGE). Antimicrobial susceptibility testing of all isolates was performed by the disc diffusion method. PFGE typing demonstrated that strains dissimilar in colony morphotype and of different antibiotic susceptibility patterns could be of the same genotype. Some patients were colonized with a rather constant P. aeruginosa flora, with strains of different phenotypes but of one genotype. Instead, some patients may be colonized by more than one genotype. Secretion of mucoid exopolysaccharide and acquisition of a new antibiotic susceptibility phenotype in these strain appear to evolve during chronic colonization in cystic fibrosis patients from specific adaptation to infection rather than from acquisition of new bacterial strains.
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