Objectives: To determine whether cytotoxic and invasive Pseudomonas aeruginosa strains differentially influence clinical presentation, outcomes, or therapeutic response in bacterial keratitis.
Methods: Pseudomonas aeruginosa isolates from the National Eye Institute-funded Steroids for Corneal Ulcers Trial were subtyped as cytotoxic or invasive strains. The main outcome measure compared between the 2 subtypes was change in visual acuity at 3 months using Huber robust regression, adjusting for topical corticosteroid treatment.
Results: Of 101 confirmed P aeruginosa isolates from the Steroids for Corneal Ulcers Trial, 74 had a classically cytotoxic or invasive genotype. While corneal ulcers caused by genotypically invasive P aeruginosa strains were associated at presentation with significantly better visual acuity than corneal ulcers caused by genotypically cytotoxic P aeruginosa strains when adjusting for the effect of ulcer location (P= .008), invasive ulcers had improved significantly less than cytotoxic ulcers at 3 months (0.35; 95% CI, 0.04-0.66 logMAR; P= .03 [3.5-line difference]). Compared with topical moxifloxacin alone, adjunctive treatment with topical corticosteroids was associated with significantly more improvement in visual acuity in the invasive subgroup (P= .04) but was associated with less improvement in visual acuity in the cytotoxic subgroup (P= .07).
Conclusions: Rational profiling of differentially expressed virulence determinants (eg, cytotoxicity and invasiveness for P aeruginosa) could be used as a tool for decision making in the management of infections to optimize outcomes.