Intestinal methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus causes prosthetic infection via ‘Trojan Horse’ mechanism: Evidence from a rat model.

Intestinal methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus causes prosthetic infection via 'Trojan Horse' mechanism: Evidence from a rat model.

Bone Joint Res. 2020 Apr;9(4):152-161

Authors: Zhu H, Jin H, Zhang C, Yuan T

Abstract
Aims: Methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) can cause wound infections via a 'Trojan Horse' mechanism, in which neutrophils engulf intestinal MRSA and travel to the wound, releasing MRSA after apoptosis. The possible role of intestinal MRSA in prosthetic joint infection (PJI) is unknown.
Methods: Rats underwent intestinal colonization with green fluorescent protein (GFP)-tagged MRSA by gavage and an intra-articular wire was then surgically implanted. After ten days, the presence of PJI was determined by bacterial cultures of the distal femur, joint capsule, and implant. We excluded several other possibilities for PJI development. Intraoperative contamination was excluded by culturing the specimen obtained from surgical site. Extracellular bacteraemia-associated PJI was excluded by comparing with the infection rate after intravenous injection of MRSA or MRSA-carrying neutrophils. To further support this theory, we tested the efficacy of prophylactic membrane-permeable and non-membrane-permeable antibiotics in this model.
Results: After undergoing knee surgery eight or 72 hours after colonization, five out of 20 rats (25.0%) and two out of 20 rats (10.0%) developed PJI, respectively. Strikingly, 11 out of 20 rats (55.0%) developed PJI after intravenous injection of MRSA-carrying neutrophils that were isolated from rats with intestinal MRSA colonization. None of the rats receiving intravenous injections of MRSA developed PJI. These results suggest that intestinal MRSA carried by neutrophils could cause PJI in our rat model. Ten out of 20 (50.0%) rats treated with non-membrane-permeable gentamicin developed PJI, whereas only one out of 20 (5.0%) rats treated with membrane-permeable linezolid developed PJI.
Conclusion: Neutrophils as carriers of intestinal MRSA may play an important role in PJI development.Cite this article: Bone Joint Res. 2020;9(4):152-161.

PMID: 32431806 [PubMed]