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J Infect Dis. 1979 Aug;140(2):209-14.

Selection of small-colony variants of Enterobacteriaceae by in vitro exposure to aminoglycosides: pathogenicity for experimental animals.


Small-colony variants of gram-negative genera of Enterobacteriaceae were selected by in vitro exposure to gentamicin. These variants were shown to have decreased susceptibility in vitro to aminoglycosides. They were lethal for mice following intraperitoneal injection, with the LD50 (50% lethal dose) being the same as, or slightly less than, that for the parent organism. Variants of strain no. 2401 of Proteus mirabilis caused urinary tract infection in mice after implantation into their bladders. Although the variants grew somewhat less rapidly than did parent organisms, both parent and variant colonies alkalinized urine at the same rate. Electron microscopic study showed no differences between colonies of parents and variants. These studies indicated that small-colony variants of Enterobacteriaceae are pathogenic for experimental animals. Further, they may cause disease in humans and should not necessarily be regarded as only laboratory curiosities.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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