Pseudomonas aeruginosa: new insights into pathogenesis and host defenses

Pathog Dis. 2013 Apr;67(3):159-73. doi: 10.1111/2049-632X.12033. Epub 2013 Mar 15.


Pseudomonas aeruginosa is a metabolically versatile bacterium that can cause a wide range of severe opportunistic infections in patients with serious underlying medical conditions. These infections are characterized by an intense neutrophilic response resulting in significant damage to host tissues and often exhibit resistance to antibiotics leading to mortality. Treatment of persistent infections is additionally hampered by adaptive resistance, due to the growth state of the bacterium in the patient including the microorganism's ability to grow as a biofilm. An array of P. aeruginosa virulence factors counteract host defences and can cause direct damage to host tissues or increase the bacterium's competitiveness. New prevention and treatment methods are urgently required to improve the outcome of patients with P. aeruginosa infections. This review describes the two main types of P. aeruginosa lung infections and provides an overview of the host response and how the genomic capacity of P. aeruginosa contributes to the pathogenesis and persistence of these infections.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Anti-Bacterial Agents / therapeutic use
  • Biofilms / growth & development
  • Drug Resistance, Multiple, Bacterial
  • Humans
  • Pneumonia, Bacterial / drug therapy
  • Pneumonia, Bacterial / immunology
  • Pneumonia, Bacterial / microbiology*
  • Pneumonia, Bacterial / pathology*
  • Pseudomonas Infections / drug therapy
  • Pseudomonas Infections / immunology*
  • Pseudomonas Infections / pathology*
  • Pseudomonas Infections / prevention & control
  • Pseudomonas aeruginosa / drug effects
  • Pseudomonas aeruginosa / immunology*
  • Pseudomonas aeruginosa / pathogenicity*
  • Pseudomonas aeruginosa / physiology
  • Treatment Outcome
  • Virulence Factors / genetics
  • Virulence Factors / metabolism


  • Anti-Bacterial Agents
  • Virulence Factors