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J Clin Microbiol. 1995 Apr;33(4):924-9.

Production of elastase, exotoxin A, and alkaline protease in sputa during pulmonary exacerbation of cystic fibrosis in patients chronically infected by Pseudomonas aeruginosa.

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CERM, Hôpital Renée Sabran, Giens, Hyères, France.


Secretion of Pseudomonas aeruginosa elastase, exotoxin A, and alkaline protease in sputum during bronchopulmonary exacerbations was examined in 18 cystic fibrosis patients chronically infected with this microorganism. The patients were studied during one or several exacerbation periods necessitating hospitalizations of 12 to 20 days. In all cases, P. aeruginosa was present in bronchial secretions at admission and was not eradicated after treatment. The P. aeruginosa density decreased significantly after antibiotic therapy but remained greater than 10(6) CFU/g of sputum in most cases. Significant amounts of P. aeruginosa exoproteins were measured in total homogenized bronchial secretions by immunoenzymatic assays. The detection of higher levels of exoproteins at admission, the significant decrease after treatment, and the absence of exoproteins during intercrisis phases constituted arguments for a renewal of virulence of P. aeruginosa during exacerbations. Nevertheless, the concomitant changes in bacteria load and the triggering of the inflammatory process and immune complex formation could also contribute to pulmonary exacerbations.

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