The Persistence of Staphylococcus aureus in Pressure Ulcers: A Colonising Role

Genes (Basel). 2021 Nov 25;12(12):1883. doi: 10.3390/genes12121883.


Decubitus pressure ulcers (PU) are a major complication of immobilised patients. Staphylococcus aureus is one of the most frequently detected microorganisms in PU samples; however, its persistence and role in the evolution of these wounds is unknown. In this study, we analysed S. aureus strains isolated from PU biopsies at inclusion and day 28. Eleven S. aureus (21.1%) were detected in 52 patients at inclusion. Only six PUs (11.5%) continued to harbour this bacterium at day 28. Using a whole genome sequencing approach (Miseq®, Illumina), we confirmed that these six S. aureus samples isolated at D28 were the same strain as that isolated at inclusion, with less than 83 bp difference. Phenotypical studies evaluating the growth profiles (Infinite M Mano, Tecan®) and biofilm formation (Biofilm Ring Test®) did not detect any significant difference in the fitness of the pairs of S. aureus. However, using the Caenorhabditis elegans killing assay, a clear decrease of virulence was observed between strains isolated at D28 compared with those isolated at inclusion, regardless of the clinical evolution of the PU. Moreover, all strains at inclusion were less virulent than a control S. aureus strain, i.e., NSA739. An analysis of polymicrobial communities of PU (by metabarcoding approach), in which S. aureus persisted, demonstrated no impact of Staphylococcus genus on PU evolution. Our study suggested that S. aureus presented a colonising profile on PU with no influence on wound evolution.

Trial registration: NCT02055729.

Keywords: Staphylococcus aureus; chronic wound; colonisation; decubitus pressure ulcers; persistence.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

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