Institut d'Investigació Sanitària Illes Balears (IdISBa) Research Group.

Comparative analysis of in vitro dynamics and mechanisms of ceftolozane/tazobactam and imipenem/relebactam resistance development in Pseudomonas aeruginosa XDR high-risk clones

María A Gomis-Font 1, 2, Gabriel Cabot 1, 2, Silvia López-Argüello 1, Laura Zamorano 1, 2, Carlos Juan 1, 2, Bartolomé Moyá 1, 2, Antonio Oliver 1, 2

1 Servicio de Microbiología y Unidad de Investigación, Hospital Universitari Son Espases, Instituto de Investigación Sanitaria Illes Balears (IdISBa), Palma de Mallorca, Spain.
2 CIBER en Enfermedades Infecciosas (CIBERINFEC), Madrid, Spain.


Objectives: To analyse the dynamics and mechanisms of stepwise resistance development to ceftolozane/tazobactam and imipenem/relebactam in XDR Pseudomonas aeruginosa clinical strains.

Methods: XDR clinical isolates belonging to ST111 (main resistance mechanisms: oprD-, dacB-, CARB-2), ST175 (oprD-, ampR-G154R) and ST235 (oprD-, OXA-2) high-risk clones were incubated for 24h in Müeller-Hinton Broth with 0.125-64 mg/L of ceftolozane + tazobactam 4 mg/L or imipenem + relebactam 4 mg/L. Tubes from the highest antibiotic concentration showing growth were reinoculated into fresh medium containing concentrations up to 64 mg/L for 7 consecutive days. Two colonies per strain from each of the triplicate experiments were characterized by determining the susceptibility profiles, whole genome sequencing (WGS), and in vitro fitness through competitive growth assays.

Results: Resistance development occurred more slowly and reached a lower level for imipenem/relebactam than for ceftolozane/tazobactam in all tested XDR strains. Moreover, resistance development to imipenem/relebactam remained low even for ST175 isolates that had developed ceftolozane/tazobactam resistance during therapy. Lineages evolved in the presence of ceftolozane/tazobactam showed high-level resistance, imipenem/relebactam hypersusceptibility and low fitness cost, whereas lineages evolved in the presence of imipenem/relebactam showed moderate (borderline) resistance, no cross-resistance to ceftolozane/tazobactam and high fitness cost. WGS evidenced that ceftolozane/tazobactam resistance was mainly caused by mutations in the catalytic centres of intrinsic (AmpC) or acquired (OXA) β-lactamases, whereas lineages evolved in imipenem/relebactam frequently showed structural mutations in MexB or in ParS, along with some strain-specific mutations.

Conclusions: Imipenem/relebactam could be a useful alternative for the treatment of XDR P. aeruginosa infections, potentially reducing resistance development during therapy.

J Antimicrob Chemother. 2022 Mar 31;77(4):957-968. doi: 10.1093/jac/dkab496.

Link to J Antimicrob Chemother

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Dr. Bartolome Moyà

Instituto de Investigación Sanitaria Illes Balears

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