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J Infect Chemother. 2005 Apr;11(2):59-63.

In vitro induction of resistance to metronidazole, and analysis of mutations in rdxA and frxA genes from Helicobacter pylori isolates.

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Department of Gastroenterology, Hokkaido University Graduate School of Medicine, Sapporo, Japan.


In clinical Helicobacter pylori isolates, metronidazole resistance has been associated with mutations in the rdxA and frxA genes. The aim of this study was to examine the role of the rdxA and frxA genes after the in vitro induction of metronidazole resistance. A total of five suscep-tible H. pylori isolates were initially exposed to different subinhibitory metronidazole concentrations to induce in vitro resistance to metronidazole. Susceptible and resistant strains after the in vitro induction of resistance were examined to evaluate mutations of the rdxA and frxA genes by sequence analysis. After the in vitro induction of resistance, analysis revealed that two and four susceptible strains developed resistance when cultured with 0.3 microg/ml and 0.6 microg/ml of metronidazole, respectively. Before and after the induction of resistance, none of the susceptible strains that developed low and moderate levels of resistance presented any mutation in either of the evaluated genes, whereas strains with high-level metronidazole resistance contained a simple mutation of the frxA gene, but no specific changes in the rdxA gene. Strains with moderate-level resistance contained both single and multiple mutations of rdxA and frxA, respectively, and the low-level-metronidazole-resistant strain contained a single mutation in the frxA gene, without any significant change in the rdxA gene. In this study, the strains that developed resistance were mainly associated with mutations of the frxA gene, suggesting the possibility that inactivation of this gene could originate metronidazole resistance. The results after the in vitro induction of resistance to metronidazole suggested the presence of additional metronidazole resistance mechanisms, other than mutations of the rdxA and/or frxA genes.

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