Panton-Valentine leukocidin genes are associated with enhanced inflammatory response and local disease in acute hematogenous Staphylococcus aureus osteomyelitis in children

Pediatrics. 2006 Feb;117(2):433-40. doi: 10.1542/peds.2005-0566.


Background: Staphylococcus aureus strains carrying the genes encoding Panton-Valentine leukocidin (pvl-positive [pvl+]) are associated with more febrile days and higher complication rates of osteomyelitis in children than are pvl-negative (pvl-) strains.

Objectives: Selected clinical, laboratory, and radiographic findings in children with osteomyelitis caused by pvl+ and pvl- S aureus strains were compared.

Methods: The demographics, selected clinical features, laboratory values, and radiographic findings of children with community-acquired S aureus osteomyelitis prospectively identified at Texas Children's Hospital between August 2001 and July 2004 were reviewed. Polymerase chain reaction was performed to detect the genes for pvl (luk-S-PV and luk-F-PV) and fibronectin-binding protein (fnbB) in S aureus isolates. Chi2, 2-sample t test, and multiple logistic regression were used for statistical analysis.

Results: Methicillin-susceptible and methicillin-resistant S aureus (MSSA and MRSA, respectively) caused osteomyelitis in 33 and 56 children, respectively. Twenty-six isolates were pvl- (26 MSSA), 59 were pvl+ (3 MSSA, 56 MRSA), and 4 were not available for analysis (4 MSSA). On univariate analysis, patients with pvl+ S aureus isolates had significantly higher erythrocyte sedimentation rate (ESR) and C-reactive protein (CRP) level both at presentation and as a maximum value during hospitalization and were more likely to have a blood culture positive for S aureus during their admission. Patients with pvl+ S aureus isolates were significantly more likely to have concomitant myositis or pyomyositis compared with patients with pvl- S aureus isolates on MRI. In a multivariate analysis pvl remained significantly associated with ESR and CRP levels at presentation and blood culture positive for S aureus. pvl+ status and younger age were associated with myositis on MRI.

Conclusions: Osteomyelitis caused by pvl+ S aureus strains were associated with more severe local disease and a greater systemic inflammatory response compared with osteomyelitis caused by pvl- S aureus.

MeSH terms

  • Acute Disease
  • Adhesins, Bacterial / genetics
  • Bacterial Toxins
  • Child
  • Child, Preschool
  • Community-Acquired Infections
  • Exotoxins / genetics*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Infant
  • Leukocidins / genetics*
  • Male
  • Methicillin Resistance
  • Osteomyelitis / diagnosis
  • Osteomyelitis / microbiology
  • Osteomyelitis / pathology*
  • Staphylococcal Infections / diagnosis
  • Staphylococcal Infections / microbiology
  • Staphylococcal Infections / pathology*
  • Staphylococcus aureus / drug effects
  • Staphylococcus aureus / genetics*


  • Adhesins, Bacterial
  • Bacterial Toxins
  • Exotoxins
  • Leukocidins
  • Panton-Valentine leukocidin
  • fibronectin-binding proteins, bacterial