Mucositis is one of the most debilitating side effects of chemotherapy and some previous studies suggest a role for indigenous microbiota in the course of this pathology. Therefore, the aim of our study was to evaluate the differences in phenotype between germ-free (GF) and conventional (CV) mice, and the role of β-glucuronidase-producing bacteria in the development of irinotecan treatment in a murine model. After mucositis induction, CV mice showed a significant increase in all inflammatory parameters when compared to GF mice. CV animals also showed more lesions of the intestinal epithelium, coherent with their higher intestinal permeability. The conventionalization of GF animals reversed their phenotype to that found in CV mice. In addition, gnotobiotic mice monoassociated with an Escherichia coli strain producing β-glucuronidase showed an increased permeability when compared to gnotobiotic mice monoassociated with an E. coli strain deleted for the gene encoding β-glucuronidase, but these did not show any differences in the influx of neutrophils, eosinophils or histological characteristics. Our data confirmed that components of the gut microbiota are involved in the signs of mucositis. Nevertheless, other mechanisms than this enzyme are involved in the irinotecan treatment, since the monoassociation was not able to restore the entire phenotype observed in the CV animals with irinotecan treatment in our murine model.
Pseudomonas aeruginosa causes chronic lung infections in people with cystic fibrosis (CF) and acute opportunistic infections in people without CF. Forty-two P. aeruginosa strains from a range of clinical and environmental sources were collated into a single reference strain panel to harmonise research on this diverse opportunistic pathogen. To facilitate further harmonized and comparable research on P. aeruginosa, we characterized the panel strains for growth rates, motility, virulence in the Galleria mellonella infection model, pyocyanin and alginate production, mucoid phenotype, LPS pattern, biofilm formation, urease activity, and antimicrobial and phage susceptibilities. Phenotypic diversity across the P. aeruginosa panel was apparent for all phenotypes examined, agreeing with the marked variability seen in this species. However, except for growth rate, the phenotypic diversity among strains from CF versus non-CF sources was comparable. CF strains were less virulent in the G. mellonella model than non-CF strains (P = 0.037). Transmissible CF strains generally lacked O-antigen, produced less pyocyanin and had low virulence in G. mellonella. Furthermore, in the three sets of sequential CF strains, virulence, O-antigen expression and pyocyanin production were higher in the earlier isolate compared to the isolate obtained later in infection. Overall, this full phenotypic characterization of the defined panel of P. aeruginosa strains increases our understanding of the virulence and pathogenesis of P. aeruginosa and may provide a valuable resource for the testing of novel therapies against this problematic pathogen.