Rationale: The effectiveness of antibiotic molecules in treating Pseudomonas aeruginosa pneumonia is reduced as a result of the dissemination of bacterial resistance. The existence of bacterial communication systems, such as quorum sensing, has provided new opportunities of treatment. Lactonases efficiently quench acyl-homoserine lactone-based bacterial quorum sensing, implicating these enzymes as potential new anti-Pseudomonas drugs that might be evaluated in pneumonia.
Objectives: The aim of the present study was to evaluate the ability of a lactonase called SsoPox-I to reduce the mortality of a rat P. aeruginosa pneumonia.
Methods: To assess SsoPox-I-mediated quorum quenching, we first measured the activity of the virulence gene lasB, the synthesis of pyocianin, the proteolytic activity of a bacterial suspension and the formation of biofilm of a PAO1 strain grown in the presence of lactonase. In an acute lethal model of P. aeruginosa pneumonia in rats, we evaluated the effects of an early or deferred intra-tracheal treatment with SsoPox-I on the mortality, lung bacterial count and lung damage.
Measurements and primary results: SsoPox-I decreased PAO1 lasB virulence gene activity, pyocianin synthesis, proteolytic activity and biofilm formation. The early use of SsoPox-I reduced the mortality of rats with acute pneumonia from 75% to 20%. Histological lung damage was significantly reduced but the lung bacterial count was not modified by the treatment. A delayed treatment was associated with a non-significant reduction of mortality.
Conclusion: These results demonstrate the protective effects of lactonase SsoPox-I in P. aeruginosa pneumonia and open the way for a future therapeutic use.