Effect of parenteral antibiotic administration on persistence of vancomycin-resistant Enterococcus faecium in the mouse gastrointestinal tract

J Infect Dis. 1999 Aug;180(2):384-90. doi: 10.1086/314874.


A mouse model of vancomycin-resistant Enterococcus faecium (VRE) intestinal colonization was used to study the effect of different subcutaneous antibiotics on persistence and density of VRE colonization. Gastric inoculation of a clinical VanB VRE isolate, in conjunction with oral vancomycin in drinking water (250 microgram/mL), resulted in high-level VRE colonization (mean, 9.5 log10 cfu/g) in all 169 experimental mice. After discontinuation of oral vancomycin, the level of VRE in the stool specimens of mice receiving subcutaneous saline steadily decreased (mean, 3.59 log10 cfu/g at day 19). Subcutaneous vancomycin, clindamycin, piperacillin-tazobactam, ticarcillin-clavulanic acid, metronidazole, cefotetan, ampicillin, and ampicillin-sulbactam all promoted persistent high levels of stool VRE. Subcutaneous ceftriaxone, cefepime, ciprofloxacin, and aztreonam promoted increased VRE density to a lesser degree or not at all. Thus, in a mouse model, vancomycin and antibiotics with potent antianaerobic activity promoted persistent high-density intestinal VRE colonization, whereas antibiotics lacking potent antianaerobic activity did not.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Anti-Bacterial Agents / administration & dosage*
  • Anti-Bacterial Agents / pharmacology*
  • Colony Count, Microbial
  • Digestive System / microbiology*
  • Drug Resistance, Microbial
  • Enterococcus faecium / drug effects*
  • Enterococcus faecium / growth & development
  • Enterococcus faecium / isolation & purification
  • Feces / microbiology
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Injections, Subcutaneous
  • Mice
  • Vancomycin / administration & dosage
  • Vancomycin / pharmacology*


  • Anti-Bacterial Agents
  • Vancomycin