Send to

Choose Destination
Clin Infect Dis. 2018 Jan 6;66(1):54-63. doi: 10.1093/cid/cix665.

Propionibacterium avidum: A Virulent Pathogen Causing Hip Periprosthetic Joint Infection.

Author information

Division of Infectious Diseases and Hospital Epidemiology, University Hospital Zurich, University of Zurich, Switzerland.
Department of Molecular and Medical Pharmacology, Crump Institute for Molecular Imaging, David Geffen School of Medicine, University of California, Los Angeles.
Institute of Medical Microbiology, University Hospital Balgrist, University of Zurich, Switzerland.
Departments of Orthopedics, University Hospital Balgrist, University of Zurich, Switzerland.
Departments of Radiology, University Hospital Balgrist, University of Zurich, Switzerland.
Northern Ireland Centre for Stratified Medicine, Biomedical Sciences Research Institute, Altnagelvin Area Hospital, University of Ulster, Londonderry, United Kingdom.



Propionibacteria are important members of the human skin microbiota, but are also opportunistic pathogens associated with periprosthetic joint infection (PJI). While the role of Propionibacterium acnes in PJI has been widely described, insight into the capacity of Propionibacterium avidum to cause PJI is limited.


An unusual cluster of 4 hip PJIs caused by P. avidum in one orthopedic center in 2015 prompted us to retrospectively identify and analyze clinical data related to previous P. avidum PJI cases (1997-2015). We also characterized the hemolytic and biofilm-producing capacity of our 4 clinical P. avidum strains isolated in 2015, and investigated their phylogenetic relationships by whole-genome sequencing.


We retrospectively identified 13 P. avidum PJIs, with the majority being hip-related infections (n = 11). Preoperative synovial fluid cultures were P. avidum positive in 63.6% of cases. Six of 12 patients (50%) with available case histories were treated with an exchange of the prosthesis. In all but 1 of the 6 patients treated with debridement-retention of the prosthesis, treatment failed, thus requiring a 2-stage revision. The isolated P. avidum strains showed a more pronounced hemolytic activity, but a similar biofilm-forming ability when compared to P. acnes. Whole-genome sequencing identified 2 phylogenetic clusters highly related to P. avidum PJI strains isolated in Sweden.


We describe the largest series of P. avidum PJI predominantly located in the hip. Phylogenetic similarity of our P. avidum strains to PJI strains isolated elsewhere suggests that these invasive lineages may be common.


Cutibacterium avidum; Propionibacterium avidum; hip; periprosthetic joint infection; whole-genome sequencing

Supplemental Content

Full text links

Icon for Silverchair Information Systems Icon for PubMed Central
Loading ...
Support Center