BioMed Research International

BioMed Research International / 2015 / Article
Special Issue

Antibiotic Resistance of Bacteria

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Research Article | Open Access

Volume 2015 |Article ID 651980 | 7 pages | https://doi.org/10.1155/2015/651980

Discrepancies in Drug Susceptibility Test for Tuberculosis Patients Resulted from the Mixed Infection and the Testing System

Academic Editor: Madhab K. Chattopadhyay
Received05 Jun 2014
Revised29 Oct 2014
Accepted03 Nov 2014
Published03 May 2015

Abstract

To find the potential reasons for the discrepancies in the drug susceptibility test (DST) of M. tuberculosis isolates, twenty paired isolates with disputed drug susceptibilities to isoniazid (INH) were selected according to the MGIT960 testing and Löwenstein-Jensen (L-J) proportion methods. Their MICs were confirmed again by broth microdilution method and by L-J proportion method. The spoligotyping results showed that, of all the 20 paired strains, 11 paired isolates belonged to the Beijing genotype and 6 paired isolates belonged to SIT1634, and that each of the remaining 3 paired isolates had two genotypes, namely, SIT1 and SIT1634. Those 3 paired isolates with different intrapair spoligotypes were further confirmed as mixed infection by the results that those three pairs of isolates with different 12 locus MIRU intrapair types and one pair carried different base pair at codon 315 (AGC versus AAC). Totally mutations in the katG gene were identified in 13 paired isolates. No mutations were found in the regulatory sequences and open reading frames (ORF) of the inhA and ahpC genes in any of the tested isolates. Those results showed that the different test systems and the mixed infection with particular genotypes of M. tuberculosis strains contributed to the drug susceptibility discrepancies.

1. Introduction

Performance of drug susceptibility testing (DST) to measure drug resistance is important not only before treatment, but also in the course of therapy to identify acquired resistance, especially in the areas with a high incidence of MDR-TB [1]. Conventional DST methods rely on egg-based (Löwenstein-Jensen; L-J) or agar-based (Middlebrook) media, but these are laborious and time-consuming procedures requiring 3 to 8 weeks to obtain results [2]. A number of new methods for DST, including the mycobacterial growth indicator tube (MGIT) [3], test [4], and Alamar blue [5] methods, have been introduced over the last decade to detect mycobacteria rapidly and to improve their growth rates [6, 7].

The BACTEC MGIT960 method has been assessed in many countries and its degree of agreement with conventional DST methods in M. tuberculosis has been assessed [810]. Meta-analysis of published results revealed high accuracy and high predictive value associated with the use of BACTEC MGIT960 [11]. However, there are still discrepancies in the DST results obtained for different anti-TB drugs between BACTEC MGIT960 and other DST methods. The discrepancies in INH susceptibility between the MGIT960 and L-J proportion methods, for example, varied from 0% to 1% [9]; however, few investigations have been reported that addressed the possible mechanisms underlying the discrepancies between the MGIT960 system and L-J proportion methods.

Discrepancies can arise from many reasons, for example, different DST systems used, mixed infection with different M. tuberculosis strains, and last but not least, contamination. In this study, 20 paired isolates with disputed drug susceptibilities to INH were selected according to the MGIT960 testing and L-J proportion methods. The name of the “paired isolates” referred to the two isolates obtained separately from the cultures after the DST by MGIT960 and L-J proportion methods from the same sputum of the patient. The reasons for the DST discrepancies were analyzed by the spoligotyping and VNTR genotyping methods and drug resistance-related mutations tested in INH resistance-related genes.

2. Materials and Methods

2.1. Strains and Antibiotics

A total of 20 paired M. tuberculosis isolates with DST discrepancies were collected in Tianjin Haihe Hospital in the year of 2006 from total 1412 isolates (Figure 1). “paired isolates” were from the the culture of the MGIT960 and L-J proportion method, respectively, which was mentioned above. Meanwhile, 96 randomly selected isolates, whose MGIT960 and agar proportion DST results were in agreement, were also collected from the same hospital. The 20 paired M. tuberculosis isolates were determined to be sensitive to INH using the conventional L-J proportion method (1 μg/mL) [12] but resistant to INH using the BACTEC MGIT960 method (0.1 μg/mL, Becton Dickinson Microbiology Systems, MD, USA) [9]. M. tuberculosis H37Rv (ATCC 27294) obtained from the Chinese National Reference Laboratory was used as a control.

2.2. Determination of the MIC of INH by Middlebrook 7H9 Broth Microdilution and L-J Agar Dilution

Resazurin was used as an indicator to test the MIC of INH in the Middlebrook 7H9 broth microdilution method [13]. Briefly, a 100 μL volume of Middlebrook 7H9 broth containing 0.05% Tween 80 and 10% OADC (Sigma, USA) was dispensed into the wells of a 96-well cell culture plate (Corning Coast). INH concentrations, in Middlebrook 7H9 medium, were as follows: 0.1, 0.2, 0.4, 0.8, 1.0, 1.2, 1.6, and 1.8 mg/L. Recovered isolates were collected from L-J slants and homogenized. Turbidity was adjusted to the number 1 McFarland standard (approximately 1 × 107 CFU/mL) and the suspension is diluted 1 : 10 and 100 μL of the dilution is added in each well that contains 100 μL of the appropriate INH dilution. The final inoculum concentration was 5 × 104 CFU/mL. The plates were sealed and incubated at 37°C for one week. Twenty-five microliter of 0.02% resazurin (Sigma Chem. Co., USA) solution was then added to each well and the plates were incubated for an additional 2 days. A change in color from blue to pink indicated the growth of bacteria and the MIC was read as the minimum INH concentration that prevented the color change in the presence of resazurin.

Determination of the MIC of INH using the L-J proportion method followed the protocol of the Chinese Anti-Tuberculosis Association [12]. INH concentrations used in the L-J medium were 2.0, 1.8, 1.6, 1.2, 1.0, 0.8, 0.6, 0.4, and 0.2 mg/L. About 105 CFU were inoculated on the INH-containing medium slants and results were recorded after 5-6 weeks.

2.3. Genomic DNA Isolation, Polymerase Chain Reaction (PCR), and Sequence Analysis

Colonies were first removed from the recovering slants by scraping, resuspended in 500 μL of TE (10 mM Tris, 1 mM EDTA (pH 8.0)), and killed by heating at 80°C for 30 min. The DNA extraction method, primers (from CyberSyn Co. Beijing, China), and PCR conditions were as described previously [14]. The primers were designed to amplify the katG gene, including the region around codon 315, the inhA regulatory region, the inhA ORF, and oxyR-ahpC regions (Table 1) [15, 16]. Both strands were sequenced for confirmation. Mutations were identified by BLAST comparisons with M. tuberculosis H37Rv as the reference (GenBank number NC_000962.3).


GeneForward primer, 5′-3′Reverse primer, 5′-3′

katG GCT GCT GTG GCC GGT CAA GACGT CCT TGG CGG TGT ATT GC
inhA regCCT CGC TGC CCA GAA AGG GAATC CCC CGG TTT CCT CCG GT
inhA ORFGAA CTC GAC GTG CAA AACCAT CGA AGC ATA CGA ATA
oxyR-ahpC CTG CGA CGG TGC TGG CACGCAC GCT GCT GCG GGT GAT TGA T

MIRU and spoligotyping cluster for M. tuberculosis isolates
SpoligotypingGGT TTT GGG TCT GAC GACCCG AGA GGG GAC GGA AAC
MIRU02TGG ACT TGC AGC AAT GGA CCA ACTTAC TCG GAC GCC GGC TCA AAA T
MIRU04 GCG CGA GAG CCC GAA CTG CGCG CAG CAG AAA CGT CAG C
MIRU10GTT CTT GAC CAA CTG CAG TCG TCCGCC ACC TTG GTG ATC AGC TAC CT
MIRU16TCG GAG AGA TGC CCT TCG AGT TAGCCC GTC GTG CAG CCC TGG TAC
MIRU20TCG GAG AGA TGC CCT TCG AGT TAGGGA GAC CGC GAC CAG GTA CTT GTA
MIRU23CTG TCG ATG GCC GCA ACA AAA CGAGC TCA ACG GGT TCG CCC TTT TGT C
MIRU24CGA CCA AGA TGT GCA GGA ATA CATGGG CGA GTT GAG CTC ACA GAA
MIRU26TAG GTC TAC CGT CGA AAT CTG TGA CCAT AGG CGA CCA GGC GAA TAG
MIRU27TCG AAA GCC TCT GCG TGC CAG TAAGCG ATG TGA GCG TGC CAC TCA A
MIRU31ACT GAT TGG CTT CAT ACG GCT TTAGTG CCG ACG TGG TCT TGA T
MIRU39CGC ATC GAC AAA CTG GAG CCA AACCGG AAA CGT CTA CGC CCC ACA CAT
MIRU40GGG TTG CTG GAT GAC AAC GTG TGGG TGA TCT CGG CGA AAT CAG ATA

2.4. Molecular Typing by Spoligotyping and the 12-Locus MIRU Method

Spoligotyping was performed with a commercial kit (Isogen Bioscience BV, Maarssen, The Netherlands) according to the manufacturer’s instructions. Amplification of the direct variant regions for spoligotyping was performed essentially as described previously [17]. Interpretation of spoligotype patterns and assignment of octal codes were based on SITVIT2 database (Pasteur Institute of Guadeloupe, Parris, France), which is an updated version of the previously released SpolDB4 database (http://www.pasteur-guadeloupe.fr:8081/SITVITDemo/tsSpoligo.jsp), as previously described [18].

The numbers of tandem repeats (TRs) at each locus in the isolates were determined on the basis of the number of whole repeats in a PCR product of the size estimated from the gel [19]. Polymerase chain reaction assays for the 12 chosen loci were repeated and compared within and between gels to ensure consistent estimation of size and TR copy number [20].

3. Results

3.1. Genotyping Analysis

Genotyping analysis can determine not only whether an infection results from transmission of the given tuberculosis isolate, but also whether the infection involves more than one strain of M. tuberculosis. Results from our genotyping analysis showed that 10 paired isolates belong to the Spoligotype International Type SIT1 (Beijing genotype, 000000000003771) and 6 paired isolates belong to the Spoligotype International Type SIT1634 (MANU2, 777777777723771) (Table 2), a spoligotype that was not found in the 96 randomly selected clinical isolates (Table 3). Three paired isolates were mixtures of the SIT1 and SIT1634 spoligotypes, and one pair was a mixture of SIT1 and the SIT269 (Beijing genotype, 000000000000771) spoligotypes. Compared with our set of 96 randomly selected isolates from Tianjin, only the Beijing and MANU genotypes were present and the percentage of the MANU genotype was extremely high (20 paired isolates: 15/40, 37.5%; 96 random clinical isolates: 3/96, 3.125%).


PairsIsolates Spoligotyping patternMIRU pattern

122357777777777237711241 2728 3422
30107777777777237711241 2728 3422

231950000000000037711261 2718 3322
29860000000000037711261 2718 3322

331847777777777237712261 2425 3322
32557777777777237712261 2425 3322

425770000000000037711261 2718 3322
5490000000000037711261 2718 3322

534780000000000037711361 2618 3322
39720000000000037711361 2618 3322

63227777777777237711241 2728 3422
5010000000000037711261 2718 3322

726710000000000007711261 2719 3312
11820000000000037711261 2719 3312

828510000000000037711241 2728 3422
15630000000000037711241 2728 3422

925667777777777237711241 2728 3322
4977777777777237711241 2728 3322

1030797777777777237711241 2728 3322
24357777777777237711241 2728 3322

1139950000000000037711261 2728 3322
48350000000000037711261 2728 3322

1243940000000000037711261 2718 3322
43967777777777237711241 2728 3422

1341240000000000037711361 2615 3322
41980000000000037711361 2615 3322

1441920000000000037712261 2615 3322
41990000000000037712261 2615 3322

1543480000000000037711261 2628 3321
43550000000000037711261 2628 3321

1644827777777777237711241 2618 3322
19017777777777237711241 2618 3322

1744847777777777237712261 2631 3321
19147777777777237712261 2631 3321

1820987777777777237712261 2631 3321
20990000000000037711241 2648 3322

1927850000000000037711241 2648 3422
15540000000000037711241 2648 3422

2027890000000000037711241 2648 3422
13440000000000037711241 2648 3422

Note: order of 12 MIRU loci is 2, 4, 10, 16, 20, 23, 24, 26, 27, 31, 39, and 40.

Number of isolates Shared typesSpoligotyping pattern

85Beijing (SIT1)000000000003771
2Beijing-like (SIT269)000000000000771
1Beijing-like (SIT585)000000000000031
2T1 (SIT261)737777773760771
1T1 (SIT5)000677777760771
1T1 (SIT353) 777777774760771
1MANU2 (SIT53)777777777760771
1Manu_ancestor (SIT523)777777777777771
1MANU2 (SIT1195)777767477763771
1U (SIT1200)703777747777771

Results obtained by using the 12-locus MIRU method [19] showed that 20 pairs of isolates had 14 MIRU patterns. Both the spoligotyping and the MIRU patterns were different in the isolates named as 6, 12, and 18 pairs, individually. The isolates named as 7 pairs had different spoligotypes, but the same MIRU type (Table 2).

3.2. MICs of the Tested Strains

To identify the differences between the liquid Middlebrook 7H9 and L-J proportion methods in DST, we tested the MICs of each of the 16 paired INH-resistant isolates and 4 pairs of isolates which consisted of different genotypes using both Middlebrook 7H9 broth microdilution and L-J proportion methods. The MICs of all the 24 tested isolates were determined to be greater than 0.1 μg/mL (0.1 to 0.6 μg/mL) using the Middlebrook 7H9 broth microdilution method and greater than 0.3 μg/mL (0.4 to 1.8 μg/mL) using the L-J proportion method (Table 4). The MICs of 5 pairs of the tested isolates using the L-J proportion method were higher than 1 μg/mL, the cutoff concentration for determining drug susceptibility in the L-J agar proportion method in this study (Table 4).


PairsIsolate*7H9 Middlebrook (g/mL)L-J agar (g/mL)katG315inhA reginhA ORFoxyR-ahpC

122350.61AAC NoneNoneNone
30100.61AACNoneNoneNone
231950.11AGCNoneNoneNone
29860.11AGCNoneNoneNone
331840.40.6ACCNoneNoneNone
32550.40.6ACCNoneNoneNone
425770.20.4AGCNoneNoneNone
5490.20.4AGCNoneNoneNone
534780.61.2ACCNoneNoneNone
39720.61.2ACCNoneNoneNone
63220.41ACC NoneNoneNone
5010.20.6ACCNoneNoneNone
726710.61.2AGCNoneNoneNone
11820.41AGCNoneNoneNone
828510.41AACNoneNoneNone
15630.41AACNoneNoneNone
925660.41ACCNoneNoneNone
4970.41ACCNoneNoneNone
1030790.61.4AGCNoneNoneNone
24350.61.4AGCNoneNoneNone
1139950.41ACCNoneNoneNone
48350.41ACCNoneNoneNone
1243940.40.8ACCNoneNoneNone
43960.40.8ACCNoneNoneNone
13412411.4AACNoneNoneNone
419811.4AACNoneNoneNone
1441920.41ACCNoneNoneNone
41990.41ACCNoneNoneNone
1543480.20.8ACCNoneNoneNone
43550.20.8ACCNoneNoneNone
1644820.41AGCNoneNoneNone
19010.41AGCNoneNoneNone
17448411.8ACCNoneNoneNone
191411.8ACCNoneNoneNone
1820980.41AGCNoneNoneNone
20990.41AACNoneNoneNone
1927850.41AACNoneNoneNone
15540.41AACNoneNoneNone
2027890.20.6AGCNoneNoneNone
13440.20.6AGCNoneNoneNone

Note: katG315 is the predominant mutation. The wild type is AGC.
*16 isolates with consistent genotype in pair and 4 pairs of isolates (bold) with different genotypes in pair.
3.3. Sequence Analysis of the Putative INH-Target Genes

Mutations in the katG gene were identified in 13 paired isolates, of which each of 12 paired isolates carried the same mutations and one pair which showed a DST discrepancy by MGIT960 and L-J proportion methods carried different base pair at codon 315 (AGC versus AAC). The AGC315AAC mutation was found in 4 paired isolates, while 9 paired isolates carried the mutation AGC315ACC. The AGC315AAC and AGC 315ACC mutations were not associated with specificity to the Beijing or MANU2 genotypes among the tested isolates. Seven paired isolates did not contain mutations in the katG gene and no mutations were found in the regulatory sequences and open reading frames (ORF) of the inhA and ahpC genes in any of the tested isolates (Table 4).

4. Discussion

Different DST methods have been developed and are used in routine clinical practice such as the conventional L-J methods and the automated MB/BacT (Organon Teknika, Turnhout, Belgium), ESPII (Difco Laboratories, Detroit, Michigan), BACTEC 9000MB (Becton Dickenson Microbiology System, Sparks, MD), and BACTEC MGIT 960 (BBL Becton Dickinson Microbiology Systems, Cockeysville, MD) systems [5, 2123]. The DST results would be influenced by many steps of the protocol, including the culture and the DST methods. In this study, we analyzed the discrepancy of the drug susceptibility test by the MGIT and L-J methods for the isolates collected from the culture by MGIT and L-J, respectively.

Except for the median time to report the DST results the M. tuberculosis complex culture positivity rates were also greatly different in MGIT and L-J [24], which indicated the possible culture preference to somewhat. And the detection time, accuracy, and performance capacity are also variable by different DST methods. Studies reported that the reasons for the different performance capacity among these methods mainly resulted from the different DST systems [23, 25]. The most obvious difference is the drug concentrations used for the DST. In MGIT system, the sensitive strains were susceptible to the INH less than the 0.1 μg/mL, while the concentration of the INH was 1 μg/mL in L-J system in this study [12, 26, 27]. Of all the 20 paired cases 15 cases had MIC in borderlines between the MGIT and the DST methods, which was a usual reason for the discordant.

Many reports showed that there was a good concordance between DST on L-J and MGIT for INH in DST [2527]. In this study, we still found that 20 paired isolates with the same genotypes individually showed the discrepancy in the drug susceptibilities to INH according to the MGIT960 testing and L-J proportion methods. Lawson et al. demonstrated that there was a substantial degree of agreement between the two methods, with similar INH and rifampicin DST patterns, but more frequent detection of streptomycin resistance and less frequent detection of ethambutol with L-J than MGIT-960. However, the differences were not statistically significant [25]. A multiple center evaluation showed that the discrepancies in INH susceptibility between the MGIT960 and L-J proportion methods varied from 0% to 1% [9].

Mixed infection with the different genotypes of M. tuberculosis in the same patient also affected the DST results even by the same testing systems [28, 29]. In this study heterogeneous genotypes were found in the isolates from each of the 4 patients. Three patients were infected by the different stains with Spoligotype International Type SIT1634 (Manu2) and Beijing genotypes and 1 patient was infected by the strains with two different Beijing genotypes. And also our test on the mutations of the putative INH-target genes, katG, inhA, and ahpC further confirmed one patient (number 18) with mixed infection by the heterogeneous genotypes (Table 4).

Some mycobacterial characteristics might be associated with particular genotypes. A well-known but controversial example is that the Beijing family strains of M. tuberculosis are often associated with relapse [30], drug resistance [31], and an increased ability to cause disease, to be transmitted within certain geographic settings [32, 33]. The isolates with particular genotypes, such as Spoligotype International Type SIT1634 (Manu2) in this study, showed higher rate of resistance in MGIT960 system than in L-J system. In this study, we found that the percentage of “MANU” genotype strains was markedly increased in paired isolates whose DST results showed discrepancies (37.5%) compared to the randomly selected clinical isolates (3.125%). An unusually high proportion of strains belonging to the “Manu” clade (27.15%) were also reported by Helal et al. [18]. Interestingly, Manu2 strains (SIT1634) have rarely been reported in Tianjin or even in China as a whole [34, 35] or in the SPOLDB4 database (excluding this study, , 1, from India and 2 from the USA).

In this study, all the 40 isolates were determined as resistant by MGIT and sensitive by L-J, of which twenty-seven isolates were found with mutations in katG315 and 13 isolates were found with no mutations in katG315 (Table 4). Those results of the mutations found in the INH-targeted genes supported that the DST result by the MGIT was more accurate than that by the L-J, and we also found that the MICs of some isolates by L-J agar method were very higher than those in the first execution in clinic, which indicated, to some extent, that the operation needs to be improved in proportion method on L-J agar.

5. Conclusion

Our study confirmed that the discrepancies of the DST in M. tuberculosis clinical isolates did exist for INH. One of the reasons for the discrepancy is the different test systems between the BACTEC MGIT960 system and the traditional L-J proportion method. Mixed infection by the strains with MANU2 and Beijing genotype patterns could also contributed to drug discrepancies.

Conflict of Interests

The authors declare that there is no conflict of interests regarding the publication of this paper.

Authors’ Contribution

Zaoxian Mei and Zhaogang Sun contributed equally to this work.

Acknowledgments

The authors thank the Beijing Bio-Bank of Clinical Resources on Tuberculosis and the Outpatient Department of Tianjin Haihe Hospital for supplying M. tuberculosis H37Rv and clinical isolates. They also thank the National Special Key Project of China on Major Infectious Diseases (2013ZX10003009), Beijing Municipal Administration of Hospitals Clinical Medicine Development of Special Funding Support (ZYLX201304), and the Beijing High-level Technical Personnel Training Project in Health (2011-3-069) for financial support.

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Copyright © 2015 Zaoxian Mei et al. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.

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