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J Med Microbiol. 2012 Sep;61(Pt 9):1270-9. doi: 10.1099/jmm.0.045799-0. Epub 2012 Jun 14.

Porin alterations present in non-carbapenemase-producing Enterobacteriaceae with high and intermediate levels of carbapenem resistance in Chile.

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Laboratorio de Microbiología, Departamento de Laboratorios Clínicos, Escuela de Medicina, Pontificia Universidad Católica de Chile, Santiago, Chile.


The main goal of this work was to identify the mechanisms responsible for carbapenem resistance in 61 Chilean clinical isolates of Enterobacteriaceae (Enterobacter spp., Serratia marcescens, Morganella morganii, Escherichia coli and Klebsiella pneumoniae) with reduced susceptibility to at least one carbapenem (ertapenem, imipenem or meropenem). All of the isolates were analysed for the presence of carbapenemases, extended spectrum β-lactamases (ESBLs), AmpC enzymes and outer-membrane proteins. None of the isolates exhibited carbapenemase activity nor did they have any of the carbapenemase genes that were screened for. Most of the 61 strains produced at least one ESBL and/or one AmpC enzyme and either lost their porins or had altered porins according to sequence analysis. The distribution of ESBLs and AmpC enzymes was different among the species studied. Resistance in K. pneumoniae and E. coli isolates was associated with ESBLs; in M. morganii isolates, resistance was attributed to overexpression of an AmpC enzyme; and in Enterobacter spp. isolates, resistance was associated with both types of enzymes. In K. pneumoniae isolates, porin integrity was more a determinant of carbapenem resistance than the presence of ESBLs, whereas in isolates of Enterobacter spp., M. morganii and S. marcescens, the presence of an overexpressed AmpC enzyme was associated with higher imipenem and meropenem MIC values. Therefore, carbapenem resistance in Chilean isolates is not due to true carbapenemases but rather to a combination of porin loss/alteration and β-lactamase activity. The fact that carbapenemases were not detected in this study is unique, given that many countries in the region have already reported the presence of these enzymes.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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